SA Rugby not playing ball with Sanzar

NOT PLEASED: John O'Neill. 10/09/06. © Gallo Images.
NOT PLEASED: John O'Neill. 10/09/06. © Gallo Images.

South African rugby came in for strong criticism from Australian rugby boss John O'Neill in an interview with Australian Associated Press at the weekend when he blamed them for not supporting the proposed six-team Super 14 play-off format proposed by Sanzar.

South African rugby came in for strong criticism from Australian rugby boss John O'Neill in an interview with Australian Associated Press at the weekend when he blamed them for not supporting the proposed six-team Super 14 play-off format proposed by Sanzar.

The postponement of the new play-off structure is the result of the failure of SA Rugby to budge from their stance that the top team from all three Sanzar countries - South Africa, Australia and New Zealand - must be included in the six-team play-offs regardless from where they end on the log.

O'Neill said that SA Rugby had embarrassed Sanzar officials who since February had been "working towards better things".

"We're talking about the future of Sanzar were talking about going to a Super 15, Super 18 down the track, and we couldn't even agree to a format of a six-team finals series," O'Neill said.

O'Neill also upset the New Zealand Rugby Union when he said that players who are eligible to play Test rugby for any of the three countries be allowed to play for any of the Sanzar teams in the Super 14.

The Kiwis have been outspoken about selecting players for the All Blacks who are playing their rugby outside New Zealand.

O'Neill's motive for his proposal is that it would be better to keep the top players from the three countries in the Super 14 rather than see them move to the northern hemisphere leagues. - Sapa

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