SYDNEY May 6 South Africa will end up as the
big losers if the southern hemisphere's SANZAR alliance breaks
up, Australian Rugby Union (ARU) Chief Executive John O'Neill
said on Wednesday.
South Africa is at odds with Australia and New Zealand over
plans to expand the Super 14 to 15 teams from 2011, supporting
the general concept but disagreeing over the proposed length
and format of the new competition.
O'Neill warned that South Africa could miss out altogether
if they failed to reach agreement, with Australia and New
Zealand already offering to form their own provincial
competition including teams from Japan.
"If Australia and New Zealand go their own way in a
competition with five teams each, and then bring in two teams
from Japan, we will live well off that," O'Neill said on
"But it will be a bad state of affairs for the South
Africans. They could run the risk of losing players."
The matter is quickly coming to a head with SANZAR due to
meet their broadcasting partners in June to thrash out a new
television deal when the current one expires in 2011.
The three unions have organised a high-level meeting in
Dublin this week to try to iron out their differences and
O'Neill said he was hopeful the South Africans would eventually
agree with the plans.
"The joint venture must remain intact," O'Neill said.
"I have dealt with the South Africans for years in business
and sport. Part of their DNA is to take it to the brink.
"There's a moment when they will realise they have taken it
(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Peter Rutherford. To
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