There was a sense in SA that Super Rugby would become a more balanced tournament after it was cut from 18 to 15 teams‚ but the stats don’t back that up. The body that operates Super Rugby, made up of SA, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina (Sanzaar), decided to restructure the tournament in 2018 with a three-conference‚ 15-team format: five teams from New Zealand‚ four from Australia‚ four from SA‚ one from Japan and one from Argentina. New Zealand retained five teams. SA and Australia lost two and three teams, respectively. The theory was that it would condense the playing depth of those two countries and improve the general standard of Super Rugby. The culling of one team seems to be working well for the Aussies, as their teams are proving to be more competitive‚ although they have yet to face opponents from New Zealand in 2018. But for South African teams, the situation is worse than it was in 2017. So far, South African franchises playing outside the country have lost nine out ...

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