New Zealand Rugby's proposal of a revamped model of Super Rugby competition for the 2021 season has received backlash from South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux.
According to the proposed model, NZR said that the new model will have five teams from New Zealand, two to four from Australia and one from Pacific Nations signalling the end of the road for South African teams and Argentina's Jaguares.
Reacting to the news, Roux said the New Zealand board will have to face legal trouble if they look to change the existing format of SANZAAR without approval of the member boards.
"If anybody kicked anyone out of Super Rugby, it was New Zealand kicking themselves out," Roux told a media conference.
"New Zealand has every right to determine their future but in terms of SANZAAR and the joint venture agreement, there is a very legal agreement in place and you've got to act within that legal agreement.
"The unbundling of Super Rugby can only be a SANZAAR executive decision. Somebody else might make a unilateral decision that forces (a split) but they put themselves at risk of a legal liability by the people who are still part of the joint venture."
According to reports in Australian media, it is understood that even Rugby Australia has expressed their displeasure in NZR limiting the number of teams that can join the competition.
"We're not going to split or destroy the code by dumping two or three sides. It would do irreparable damage to the game here," Waratahs chairman Roger Davis told the Sydney Morning Herald.
While New Zealand and Australia have their own competition in the 2020 season following the pandemic coronavirus crisis, South Africa, Argentina and Japan are struggling with the sport in the country suspended since March.