'They haven't been able to meet the obligations' - NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew weighs in on Sunwolves axing

New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew admitted this afternoon that although the Suwolves have been getting better on the rugby field, the decision to axe them from the Super Rugby competition came down to financials.

SANZAAR announced earlier today that the Japanese Super Rugby franchise will no longer compete in the competition after 2020.

"They've known for a very long time what the obligations would be to remain in this competition," said Tew.

"And they haven't been able to meet those obligations and, as I say, they went one step further and the Japanese Rugby Union withdrew their guarantee."

The new format will see a round-robin setup, with each team playing each other once a year at home or away, with a top-six finals series.

This will mean the number of New Zealand derbies will halve, with Tew saying it has its pluses and negatives.

"The commercial guys inside the Investec Super Rugby clubs, they'd prefer if we'd kept some more derbies," Tew said.

"But if you're going to have a clean round robin then that's not going to work. If you talk to High Performance folk, All Blacks coaches – they're much happier that we're not playing each other more often."

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The Sunwolves will no longer be part of the Super Rugby competition from 2021. Source: 1 NEWS

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