Global seasons, north-south play-offs and other proposals remain on the table. However, with no real solutions in sight, SANZAR are continuing to work on making their product the best there is.
Greg Peters, the SANZAR Chief Executive, in Part Four of his exclusive and broad-gauged interview with this website, said they back themselves to produce the best competitions in the world.
The ongoing face-off between the northern and southern hemispheres goes well beyond who produces the best results when their respective teams meet on the field.
Their competitions are constantly measured against each in terms of the entertainment value and quality of the rugby they deliver.
It is Super Rugby against the European Cup, the Currie Cup and New Zealand's NPC against the English Premiership and Pro12 (previously Celtic League).
The comparisons are not only inevitable, but the debates are protracted and vociferous.
However, Peters is happy that Super Rugby remains a sexy competition that is not only attractive to fans from all over the globe, but it is a growing brand.
"Our vision is to have the best and commercially most successful competition in the world," he told this website, when asked if he was happy with the SANZAR products.
"We have a very successful competition," he said, adding: "The metrics are all going in the right direction.
"We've got some great rugby being played this year ... generally the standard has been pretty good. The score margins have been pretty tight, with a couple of exceptions.
"[There have been] lots of games within seven points and lots of scoring action within them, so that is what fans want to see ... presumably."
He admitted that comparisons with Northern Hemisphere and the European Cup were inevitable.
"I think we play a very attractive brand of rugby.
"The teams, the coaches and everyone involved in the game is passionate about making it the best it can be."
He felt that while inevitable, comparisons are always tricky between north and south, but SANZAR back themselves to be the best competition in the world.
And SANZAR has the added advantage of more favourable playing conditions.
"I think that [the conditions] is a factor," he told this website, adding: "One of our [negative] factors is travel, the demands on players and the length of the season, so there are a number of things we need to keep watching."
The length of the season and overloaded calendar means there certain constraints - such as Super Rugby having to take a mid-season break to make provision for the inbound tours by Northern Hemisphere teams.
"That [the June break in Super Rugby] is the constraints of the current global season and we have to work around that [the June window].
"We can't start any earlier, because that will be Christmas and it will be too hot, and we can't go any longer because we have very important competitions like the Currie Cup [in South Africa] and the NPC in New Zealand, while we also have the Rugby Championship [the Test series between SA, NZ, Australia and Argentina] to fit in.
"It is a long season, it is a lot of rugby and it is something we need to be conscious of in terms of player welfare and just monitoring how much the demands are that we are putting on players.
"At the moment certainly no more rugby can be fitted in."
Peters confirmed that there has been ingoing discussions of how they might restructure the global seasons, but a solution is not in sight.
"From a Southern Hemisphere point of view we would like to see a different structure to the season .
"Shifting that June window has been talked about in the past and continuous 'in-and-out' visiting between north and south, as well as creating the opportunity in the future for north-south play-offs between the European Cup and Super Rugby.
"Unfortunately we haven't been able to find a solution globally that will work for all parties ... not least of which include Northern Hemisphere clubs and unions, where Six Nations is placed and other major competitions in the world."
What further complicates the matter is that the European countries play the Six Nations in February and they play the European Cup, when - as Peters put it - the southerners are "still at the beach".
"[The] November [Tests] mean we don't get our international players back till late January, when they have had their break."
He admitted there has been talk of an October/November Test window.
However, the other problem is that it is the start of the European domestic competitions and already there is often an overlap with the French Top 14 competition which runs into June.
"To get a full global season is what we all want ... what the majority of people in world rugby would want," Peters said, when asked what the ideal solution would be.
"You need a clean sheet of paper and you draw a season.
"The problem is, in the north they have a very successful commercial model and some pretty big drivers from a financial model.
"This meant they have held onto what they have got and there doesn't seem to be a lot of willingness to change."
By Jan de Koning
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