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Is NZ ready for a sixth Super Rugby team?

Published: 5:00PM Wednesday September 04, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

New Zealand rugby bosses are reportedly pushing for a sixth New Zealand Super Rugby franchise as part of an expansion to the competition in 2016.

SANZAR bosses are meeting to decide the format of Super Rugby for 2016 and beyond, but expansion is a certainty.

SANZAR CEO Greg Peters has told South African media that there has been a move from within New Zealand for a sixth franchise.

An NZRU spokesperson says if there is expansion, they want it to be a contestable process.

A new broadcast deal is being negotiated for 2016 and beyond, allowing organisers to look at changes to the competition model.

"We want to retain Super Rugby as the pre-eminent regional tournament in the southern hemisphere and we want to keep it as one competition," Peters told SuperSport.

"There are various options we are looking at to ensure that, but I can confirm that a sixth team from South Africa has been accepted."

South Africa has been rallying for a sixth team after the Lions were forced to sit out last season's Super Rugby competition to make way for Southern Kings.

The Lions have subsequently reclaimed their Super Rugby status through a series of promotion-relegation matches against the Kings.

The format of the tournament will have to change to accommodate a sixth South African franchise and all models are currently being discussed.

It is understood that Argentina are lobbying for the inclusion of an Argentine side in order to strengthen the Pumas for the Rugby Championship, while there's also been a move from New Zealand to add a sixth team.