NZR review recommends Super Rugby scrapped for competition featuring NZ, Australia and Pacific - report

A new-look Super Rugby competition featuring just New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands is one of the multiple recommendations to reportedly come out of a recently drafted NZR report.

Damian McKenzie runs against the Hurricanes Source: Photosport

Mediaworks reports the ‘Aratipu’ report has proposed the changes to the tournament, which would feature all the trans-Tasman franchises and the addition of a Pacific team. The South African teams along with the Jaguares from Argentina would be removed.

The draft review recommended the changes kick in next year.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Super Rugby had struggled to attract crowds and television viewers and the travel to both South Africa and Argentina is an issue that has been brought up by Kiwi players and coaches for years.

But Super Rugby Aotearoa has given the game in New Zealand a revival with impressive crowds turning out so far through the first four rounds of the competition.

While a continuation of Super Rugby Aotearoa in the years to come was ruled out as “not sustainable” by Brent Impey last week, the NZR chairman said they were weighing up all other options going forward.

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

“[Super Rugby Aotearoa] 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.”

Another issue the review highlighted was the need for Super Rugby to be a feeder into something with much broader international appeal, Mediaworks reports.

When Aratipu was commissioned in April, review chair Don Mackinnon identified it as the missing piece to the Super Rugby puzzle.

"Do we look at a Heineken Cup-type playoff model in the short to medium term whereby we're looking at the best of the best playing," Mackinnon queried at the announcement of the review in April. 

The Heineken Cup consists of the Six Nations’ 20 best clubs based on their final placings in respective local competitions, with competitors split into five pools to find eight finalists [five pool winners and three best runner-ups] for a knock-out stage.