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Expressions Of Interest Called For 15th Team

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, July 9 NZPA - Expressions of interest have been called from applicants wanting to host the 15th team when Super rugby expands from 2011.

Southern hemisphere conglomerate Sanzar today said a decision on the location of the new team will be made by November and has ruled out expanding into any countries outside South Africa, Australia or New Zealand for now.

The new-look structure of the competition will see Super rugby played in conferences, with the 15th team to be part of the Australian conference with Melbourne considered a frontrunner to host the new franchise.

` `Geographical location and the time-zone of the new team will be a key consideration for Sanzar," a press release said today.

A letter inviting an application of interest has been sent to the Samoan Rugby Union "so that it can consider whether it wishes to mount a bid," Sanzar said.

Expressions of interest must be registered by July 22 and a decision on the identity and location of the new team is expected by November.

The organisation gave no indication why it favoured an application from Samoa over similar expressions of interest from Tonga and Fiji.

Fiji reached the quarterfinals of the 2007 Rugby World Cup, finished second in the recent Pacific Nations Cup tournament, ahead of Samoa and Tonga, and is currently the highest-ranked Pacific team at No 9 in the world.

The group has also sent letters to the national rugby unions of Argentina, Canada, Fiji, Japan, the United States and Tonga, telling them they were not currently seen as potential expansion locations.

"Sanzar sees the change in the competition format from 2011 as a first step in positioning Super rugby to allow for future opportunities," the group said in a joint statement.

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