Related News

Home » Sports » Rugby

NZ to cut back domestic competition

NEW Zealand will cut the number of teams in its top rugby competition and shorten the season as early as next year to try to revive the struggling competition, the New Zealand Rugby Union said yesterday.

New Zealand national rugby and club officials met in Wellington last week to agree changes to the 14-team Air New Zealand Cup, which administrators say is unsustainable and has sunk several provincial unions into financial turmoil.

The NZRU, clubs and players' representatives have agreed in principle to shorten the season to dovetail with the Super 14 competition and introduce a promotion and relegation system, the NZRU said in a statement.

"These principles mean the premier division of our domestic provincial competitions will feature fewer teams," NZRU Chief Executive Steve Tew said.

"The timing of these changes is for the 2011 year onwards, although changes could be introduced in 2010 if all parties were in agreement," the statement said.

The revamped competition would see the season completed in a 10-12 week period, concluding at the end of October.

Super 14 players would be able to compete after their competition ended.

It would also guarantee four or five home games per team in a full round-robin format before post-season playoffs. "It would be ideal if we are able to progress this planning to the point where a proposal detailing these new competitions can be included in our offering to broadcasters which is due to be presented at the end of June," Tew said.

The move comes after Australia, New Zealand and South Africa agreed last week to replace the existing Super 14 league with a 15-team tournament and expand the season from 14 weeks to 26.

With the new Super League season slated to finish in August, the New Zealand championship could kick off soon after.

Since its establishment in 2006, a number of clubs have struggled to meet costs in the top league, and have been hit hard in recent months by the global financial crisis.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend