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NZ bosses welcome Super Rugby changes

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/04/2017

Steve Tew. © MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP/Getty Images Steve Tew. New Zealand Rugby bosses have welcomed the trimming down of Super Rugby, believing it will make the competition more robust and exciting.

The competition will reduce from 18 to 15 teams from next year, with two teams to be axed from South Africa and one from Australia. The identity of the teams is still to be confirmed.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew says the new structure is an important response to the convoluted environment.

New Zealand's five-team participation remains unchanged, with the Kiwi teams having led the way with on-field performance.

That has been most glaring during the last two seasons, with the standard and depth in both Australia and South Africa have waned.

"SANZAAR unions have worked hard on very difficult issues to ensure the best outcome, securing a strong future for the competition and all the SANZAAR nations," Tew said.

"From a New Zealand perspective, the strength of all teams is essential to ensure that New Zealand clubs can be successful on and off the field, while providing a fantastic platform for the best players in the world to be on display."

SANZAAR and NZ Rugby chairman Brent Impey said the decision to revert to a 15-team format reflected a consensus view of the SANZAAR executive committee that met in London recently.

He said SANZAAR's broadcast partners had agreed to the restructured format within the existing broadcast agreements.

Impey said the decision to retain the Sunwolves was linked directly to SANZAAR's strategic plan for the future.

"The potential for growth of the sport in Asia off the back of the establishment of the Sunwolves and the impending RWC in 2019 is significant," he said.

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