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SANZAR dismiss Super Rugby expansion
ESPNscrum Staff
February 2, 2012
South African Kings celebrate their Nations Cup win, Bucharest, Romania, June 19, 2011
The Southern Kings have been granted a license for the 2013 Super Rugby by the SARU © Getty Images
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South Africa's bid to have six teams in a newly expanded 16-team Super Rugby format has been dismissed by SANZAR.

With the South African Rugby Union granting the Southern Kings a Super Rugby license for 2013, one of their current five sides in the competition looked set to bow out. But the SARU are reportedly keen on adding the Southern Kings to their five participants in the tournament to take the total number of teams vying for the Super Rugby trophy to 16. But SANZAR CEO Greg Peters has ruled out the possibility citing commercial reasons.

"Sanzar has sold the current structure of Super rugby to broadcasters and commercial partners for the period ending December 31 2015, so until that time expansion of the competition is not possible," Peters told SportLive.

But SARU vice president Mark Alexander has rubbished these comments and claimed that "there is a window of opportunity" where a 16th franchise may be possible. "We still have to meet with our partners in SANZAR. Greg Peters cannot decide there won't be any expansion of the tournament," Alexander said. "That was an irresponsible statement to make. There is a window of opportunity with our partners in SANZAR."

"We are currently preparing a 16-team schedule so that we can go and debate with them. Our relationship with Sanzar has improved tremendously. We are very close to our partners in Australia and we work very closely with New Zealand and our relationship has changed. There is a window of opportunity provided we sell a workable solution about 16 franchises playing in the competition."

And prior to the start of the 2012 Super Rugby competition, SANZAR has confirmed that they will trial a variety of new disciplinary rules. "SANZAR has long held the view that the disciplinary process could be enhanced to provide for a more consistent and simplified outcome," said Peters. "We believe that these changes are an important step in the right direction".

The major changes include the introduction of placing players 'on report.' Officials can refer an incident 'on-field' to a citing commissioner if they feel an act of foul play has occurred or if a player makes a complaint to a referee. Citing Commissioners can also issue an 'off-field yellow card' to a player's record if they deem it necessary.

Disciplinary hearings, or judicial as SANZAR refer to it as, will also take place over videoconference in an attempt to cut down the travelling distance experienced in Super Rugby. SANZAR also now holds the power to appeal a judicial outcome if it deems the penalty to be excessive or inadequate.

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