Waratahs chief says no team input into Super Rugby future

SYDNEY (AP) A week before Super Rugby’s governing body meets to discuss the future of the competition, the chairman of the New South Wales Waratahs has complained that none of the five Australian teams will have a say in determining which clubs, if any, are cut.

SANZAAR, which is run by the national unions of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, will meet next Thursday to discuss the structure of the competition, including the number of teams. Australian media have speculated that the Western Force, based in Perth, Western Australia, could be cut from the current 18-team competition.

But the teams that play in the competition, including the Force, ACT Brumbies, Queensland Reds, Melbourne Rebels, and the Waratahs, will have no direct input into the decision-making process.

”I’ve got to be honest with you, that the Super clubs are not involved at all in this discussion I find totally perverse,” Waratahs chairman Roger Davis said Thursday. ”It’s our clubs and our business, but all the discussions are being handled on our behalf by the national bodies.”

Davis admitted it would be unwieldy for all Super Rugby teams to be involved in the meeting, but he argued they could be represented.

”There are a lot of understandably selfish interests going on here.” Davis said. ”A classic situation would be if you were the Western Force and you were bounced out of the competition. You don’t get to participate in the trial, you don’t get to hear the arguments, you are tried, judged and whipped off to jail without any real right of appeal.”

Davis said the Waratahs would like to see an Asia-Pacific competition involving 10 teams from Australia and New Zealand and possibly Japan, which would increase the number of home games and local derbies.

”All the professional sporting codes, AFL, soccer, rugby league, are absolutely staggered as to how we can stay afloat with seven (home) games, it’s nonsense,” Davis said. ”We would like to see more games against the Kiwis and more games against our peers. That would have financial and fan support.”

The Tokyo-based Sunwolves and Argentinian side Jaguares are beginning their second year in the competition. They each play in one of two South Africa conferences.

There have been suggestions that Australia cannot support five teams and South Africa should not have six. At the same time, SANZAR chiefs say future expansion has not been ruled out.