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Macqueen backs call for Super 12 expansion
Sydney
February 16, 2000

Wallaby coach Rod Macqueen has publicly backed calls for a fourth Australian team in the Super 12 series claiming it was essential if Australia wanted to stay on top of world rugby.

Super 12's ruling body SANZAR meets early next month to decide on whether to approve Australia's request for a fourth team.

South Africa and New Zealand have been reluctant in their support for the move as fearing it may be at the expense of one of their teams or bite into their funding from SANZAR backer News Limited.

Macqueen said, "From Australia's point of view, it's absolutely essential if we are to have depth and go on to give players opportunities."

He said Australian rugby might not have discovered Wallaby fly-half Stephen Larkham if the Brumbies, who has previously coached, had not been formed.

"You just have to look at the emergence of the ACT and players like Stephen Larkham who might never have had a chance," Macqueen said.

"I think another team would be competitive. There was a lot of contention as to whether the Brumbies would be competitive and that was answered in the first year."

A fourth Super 12 side would probably be based in either Perth or Melbourne.

Last week, Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill said he wanted five Australian teams in the Super 12 competition in the near future.

"For Australia to achieve its ambition of being a world superpower on a consistent basis we wouldn't want to stop at four," he said.

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