Broadcasters bully Saru

South Africa may be forced to play Monday night Vodacom Super 14 matches after the Australians threw their support behind New Zealand’s proposal of expanding the match day schedule.

Fox Sports rugby boss Matt McKeown told The Dominion Post that Monday night rugby featuring the eight Super 14 teams from New Zealand and Australia should be a reality next year.

McKeown revealed that a joint broadcasters’ submission to Sanzar last year for games to be played on Thursdays and Mondays was rejected by Saru. But it will be raised again at the next meeting in July, with New Zealand’s Sky TV and Fox Sports adamant the three-day window for games has to expand next year.

“We’re very much in favour of that and think it would be a great move forward,” McKeown said, echoing earlier comments by Sky’s head of sport, Kevin Cameron. “Rugby in Australia is looking to push hard and attract a bigger audience. The only way to do that is when you’re not competing against other sports.”

By playing games on Thursday and Mondays – when league and AFL do not regularly feature – rugby would be exposed to “new eyeballs”, McKeown said.

While South Africa rejected the push to expand the playing schedule for this year’s Super 14, The Dominion Post claims unions can now only reject a broadcasting request on the basis of player welfare.