The general council of the South African Rugby Union (SARU) has confirmed that a strength-versus-strength format could be established in the Currie Cup from 2012 onwards.
SARU's CEO Jurie Roux confirmed at the competition launch on Thursday that there is proposal for only the top six teams to compete in the Currie Cup, rather than eight teams in the current format.
"The President's council approved the principle of a strength-versus-strength format from 2012 onwards, when the future structure was reviewed at the end of 2009," said Roux.
"They gave the competitions committee the task of determining what format would work, within the broad principles of strength-versus-strength and the new playing calendar from 2011 onwards.
"In March, the committee confirmed that the only practicable format within those constraints was a top division of six teams and a first division of eight teams. That recommendation was accepted by the executive council who, in turn, must seek acceptance of their recommendation at a general council meeting."
Roux said the rationale for the recommendation was presented to a workshop of union presidents and CEOs in Cape Town last week. A number of concerns were raised and alternatives were discussed but none was accepted as a workable substitute.
Roux said the decision-making process was not complete and that further discussions would take place before the general council would be asked to make a final decision.
"The sponsors are aware of the debate and favour the recommended model, but the final decision rests with the unions," Roux said.
He added that the decision needed to be taken during the course of 2011 but no specific timelines had been attached.
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