12-team Super Rugby Pacific competition locked in until 2030

December 2, 2022 GMT

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Rugby Australia has withdrawn its threat to quit Super Rugby Pacific in 2024 and will remain part of a 12-team competition which includes five New Zealand, five Australian and two Pacific Island teams.

The agreement, announced at a news conference in Sydney on Friday, means Super Rugby Pacific will remain in its current form until 2030.

Australia threatened to go it alone after a lengthy dispute with New Zealand over the shape of the competition and revenue sharing. Those differences appear to have been resolved after negotiations which helped repair a fractured relationship between the trans-Tasman neighbors.

The resolution of the dispute was made more urgent by moves towards a world club championship. European clubs are near agreement on the competition but the uncertainty over Super Rugby’s future stalled further progress.

It is expected a temporary revenue-sharing model will be in place until 2026 when a new model will likely be introduced.

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Andy Marinos, chief executive of governing body SAANZAR, said the agreement was a watershed moment for professional rugby in the Southern Hemisphere.

“Today marks the dawn of a new era of Super Rugby within our region,” Marinos said. “Securing this long-term partnership provides stability and continuity that the competition and Super Rugby clubs need to enable rugby to grow in stature and importance across the region.

Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby “are committed to the development of the most exciting form of rugby in the world, through trialing and implementing new rules, new ways of engaging fans and broadcast innovations with our partners,” Marinos said.

A new governance structure will see a nine-person board created which would include players’ representatives. The board will examine the possibility of establishing an integrated women’s competition after the success of women’s tournaments in Australia and New Zealand.

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