Don't expect any big announcements when Sanzaar chiefs complete their key meeting about the ailing Super Rugby competition tomorrow.

Representatives from the Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina rugby governing bodies will meet in London to consider detail of several options to fix the ungainly and uneven format which has left many fans disillusioned.

But they won't be able to announce any decision then.

All will have to report back to their national boards and also consult the other stakeholders involved before changes can be confirmed.


Deputy chairman Brett Robinson is representing the Australian Rugby Union at the meeting, where one option will be culling some of the 18 teams, including one Aussie side, possibly the Force, Brumbies or Rebels.

Super Rugby's woes stem from the disastrous move to a lopsided four-conference format as the addition of the Kings from South Africa, Sunwolves from Japan and Jaguares from Argentina expanded the competition from 15 teams to 18.

Bizarrely it meant some teams from South Africa could make the playoffs without facing any of the five teams from the powerhouse New Zealand conference.

There is little doubt change is needed. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika concedes interest in rugby in Australia might be falling because of Super Rugby's conference structure. The biggest crowd drawn by an Australian team this season was the 15,000 who watched the Reds beat the Sharks, and television audiences are in decline.

"There is no doubt that with the current structure, interest is being eroded," Cheika said.

It's understood the ARU's preference would be for a combined Australia and New Zealand conference which would keep all five Australian teams. The South Africans would be involved at the playoffs stage.

It would provide Australian fans with popular derbies and transtasman clashes while losing the largely-unwatched matches in South Africa played in the early hours of Australia and New Zealand time.

Whether that's realistic is far less clear.

New Zealand prizes its rugby relationship and competition with great traditional foe South Africa.

Do the decision-makers risk alienating fans further and cop more team financial losses by hanging on until the current broadcasting deal expires at the end of the 2020 season? Or do they seek approval, including from broadcasters, to make changes as early as next season?