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SA Rugby in for long haul with Sanzaar

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    12 Apr 2017     Getty Images

Suggestions had been made in South Africa, and in Europe, that in the wake of likely changes to Investec Super Rugby, that South Africa might be better off transferring its rugby to join European leagues.

However, South Africa Rugby has announced a renewed commitment to Sanzaar.

It also explained why it had never considered removing itself from Super Rugby.

In a statement SA Rugby said: "First of all you need a willing opponent and second you need a suitable window.

"Neither of those are currently in place or are likely to be in the short term.

"But SA Rugby has also taken a strategic decision that our future lies with Sanzaar – we may not be in the same time zone but we are in the same playing season and rugby cultural zone.

"Sanzaar competitions are the best in the world and if we want the Springboks to be the best team in the world – which we do – then we have to play and excel in Sanzaar competitions," it said.

The decision to cut back on South African teams in Super Rugby would also lead to a stronger national side.

The Union said, "It means he'll [Springbok coach] be choosing a Bok squad from a smaller, more competitive and hopefully more successful pool of about 160 players [rather than 240] – that should be enough.

"Springboks are made in schools and in this professional era the best of them are picked up by the major provinces before they have even left. That won't change, it'll just mean the competition is even more intense and the standards for success will be set higher," it said.

That stance was backed by former Springbok Naas Botha.

"Maybe it's better that our player pool only feeds four teams. You want the best 160 players in the country to feed the four Super-teams," he said.

Botha also added that the four teams included needed to be the best four teams.

"Nobody needs to be protected because they were a good team 10 years ago. Your geographical location should also not determine whether you stay in the competition," he said.