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Continuing Super Rugby Aotearoa in future years not an option, NZR chairman says

Despite it’s huge success in both attendance and TV ratings so far, New Zealand Rugby says Super Rugby Aotearoa isn’t a “sustainable” option for the future.

Sevu Reece makes a break against the Chiefs. Source: Photosport

NZR chairman Brent Impey told Fairfax they were looking at many options for how New Zealand’s rugby landscape will look post-Covid-19 pandemic, including whether more New Zealand Super Rugby teams could be created and added to the pre-2019 style Super Rugby competition.

“We’ve got to be open to all sorts of options,” Impey said.

One option that appears to be closed though is a another New Zealand-only Super Rugby competition despite this year’s domestic tournament drawing some of the biggest crowds teams have seen in years.

Impey acknowledged NZR had certainly recognised the relationship between the figures and fixtures from Super Rugby Aotearoa.

“We’ve known for a long time what the public want,” Impey said.

“They want the derbies.”

But outside of a global pandemic, Impey said the model doesn’t work long-term.

“It worked perfectly this year but going longer-term, it’s not really a sustainable model.

“We’ve got an open mind, but we’ve got to remember what our fans want and also make sure it’s viable.“

Instead, Impey said NZR may look to a partnership with Australia with talks of a trans-Tasman bubble continuing throughout the global pandemic.

“We’re open to it all,” Impey said. “We’ve got a completely open mind as we plan through.

“We’re open to working with Rugby Australia.”