Super Rugby's Aussie CEOs present united front
CHIEF executives at Australia's five Super Rugby franchises have refused to comment on reports that one of the teams will be cut from the competition by ruling body SANZAAR in 2018.
"Given that so many people's livelihoods could potentially be at stake, the CEOs are respecting the ongoing process that SANZAAR are going through and that speculation of a future format does not help any team," the bosses of the NSW Waratahs, Queensland Reds, Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels and Western Force said in a statement.
Three Australian teams - Western Force, the Brumbies and the Melbourne Rebels - are believed to be in the firing line.
Earlier this week, the boss of the South Africa-based Cheetahs, Harold Verster, told Afrikaans language news website Netwerk 24 that one Australian team and one South African team would be cut from the competition, taking it from 18 to 16 teams.
"All I can say is that we (the Cheetahs) are safe. I keep my ear to the ground," he said.
"There is much discussion about the current series and the format and two teams of South Africa and a team from Australia.
"There was even speculation that we would return to a Super 12, but my information is that we are going to be reduced from the current 18 to 16 teams."