Su­per Rugby for­mat un­changed in 2017

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

SU­PER Rugby will re­tain its much­crit­i­cised con­fer­ence for­mat next year while tweak­ing kick-off times to trial Thurs­day night matches and in­crease the num­ber of af­ter­noon games.

Gov­ern­ing body SANZAAR in­tro­duced con­fer­ences in the 2016 sea­son to al­low Su­per Rugby’s ex­pan­sion to 18 teams, in­clud­ing Ja­pan’s Sun­wolves, Argentina’s Jaguares and South Africa’s South­ern Kings.

But the ex­panded com­pe­ti­tion – which strad­dles 16 time zones and four con­ti­nents – re­sulted in com­plaints of lop­sided con­tests, ex­haust­ing travel sched­ules and a frag­mented four-con­fer­ence sys­tem seen as too com­plex.

In ad­di­tion, the new teams strug­gled, par­tic­u­larly the Sun­wolves, who man­aged just one win from 15 matches.

SANZAAR chief Andy Mari­nos un­veiled an un­changed for­mat for 2017 yes­ter­day, say­ing, “The new sea­son is set to be an­other en­thralling, ac­tion­packed one.”

He pre­dicted the new clubs would be more com­pet­i­tive next year.

“It is an­tic­i­pated that all three teams will be bet­ter for the ex­pe­ri­ence of 2016 as we look for­ward to see­ing their con­tin­ued im­prove­ment,” he said.

“Su­per Rugby con­tin­ues to be the tough­est rugby tour­na­ment in the world.”

The sea­son kicks off with the Mel­bourne Rebels play­ing the Auck­land Blues at home on Fe­bru­ary 23, and cul­mi­nates in the com­pe­ti­tion fi­nal on Au­gust 5.

The Sun­wolves, who did not play any New Zealand teams last year, face a daunt­ing start to the sea­son against de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Welling­ton Hur­ri­canes in Tokyo on Fe­bru­ary 25.

The Ja­panese will play four of their home matches in Tokyo and three in Sin­ga­pore.

The first South African match is a lo­cal derby be­tween the Cen­tral Chee­tahs and Golden Lions in Bloem­fontein.

There will be a short mid-sea­son pause and some split rounds in June and July to ac­com­mo­date in­ter­na­tional fix­tures, in­clud­ing the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions tour of New Zealand.

The Australian Rugby Union said ex­per­i­ment­ing with Thurs­day night matches in the first two rounds of the sea­son would “ex­tend the Su­per Rugby week­end for fans”.

It said adding more af­ter­noon kick­offs was de­signed to make the game more fam­ily friendly.

Each Su­per Rugby team plays 15 matches and has two byes in the 17-round reg­u­lar sea­son. – PARIS will com­mit 145 mil­lion eu­ros (US$162 mil­lion) for the ren­o­va­tion of sta­di­ums and other in­fra­struc­ture to strengthen its bid to host the 2024 Sum­mer Olympics, city of­fi­cials said on Septem­ber 19.

A meet­ing of Paris’ City Coun­cil next week will vote on a res­o­lu­tion for­mally giv­ing Mayor Anne Hi­dalgo the power to sign guar­an­tees re­quired by the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) to host the Games.

“It’s a for­mal stage but at the same time ex­tremely im­por­tant,” Jean-Fran­cois Martins, deputy mayor of Paris re­spon­si­ble for sport told AFP.

Paris is in com­pe­ti­tion with Bu­dapest, Los Angeles and Rome to stage the sport­ing spec­tac­u­lar in 2024.

Af­ter the first dossier on the “con­cept” of the Games on Fe­bru­ary 17, a sec­ond will be pre­pared for October 7 on the le­gal side and fi­nanc­ing.

Some 30 mil­lion eu­ros will be used to build a sec­ond sta­dium in Bercy, and 21 mil­lion eu­ros on an aquatic cen­tre near the Stade de France in the north of the city.

An­other 25 mil­lion eu­ros is planned for train­ing sites, 12.5 mil­ion eu­ros for a swim­ming pool in Seine Saint-De­nis and 6.5 mil­lion eu­ros on the Pierre de Cou­bertin Sta­dium.

Paris will also guar­an­tee 4 mil­lion eu­ros to set aside for the fu­ture Olympic vil­lage.

The over­all bud­get for construction work for the Games is es­ti­mated at 3 bil­lion eu­ros, in­clud­ing 1.5 bil­lion of public money.

“We have gam­bled on a sim­ple con­cept re­ly­ing on ex­ist­ing sites,” said Martins.

“This is the first time in the his­tory of the Olympics that a city has de­cided that res­i­dents will have their say and be able to choose some of the ameni­ties around the Olympic venues,” added Martins.

The coun­cil will also vote on a guar­an­tee to ex­tend a line of the RER, an ex­press train con­nect­ing Paris city cen­tre and the sur­round­ing sub­urbs.

The IOC will re­veal the 2024 bid win­ner in Lima on Septem­ber 13, 2017. –

Photo: EPA

Matt Proc­tor of the Hur­ri­canes is tack­led by Ro­han Janse van Rens­burg of the Lions dur­ing the Su­per Rugby fi­nal in Welling­ton, New Zealand, on Au­gust 6.

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