Australian Rugby Union Chairman Cameron Clyne, left, and CEO Bill Pulver discuss how the southern hemisphere Super Rugby tournament is reduced from 18 to 15 teams. Photo: Rick Rycroft/AP

SYDNEY – The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) will consult with both the Perth-based Western Force and the Melbourne Rebels before deciding which team to cut for the revised 2018 Super Rugby 15-team format, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

SANZAAR (SA, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina Rugby) confirmed on Sunday that one Australian franchise and two franchises from SA would be cut to streamline the current cumbersome 18-team format, for the future viability of the competition, both financially and logistically.

It is now up to the ARU and their counterparts, the SA Rugby Union (SARU) to decide which teams are to be cut, preferably in consultation with all the affected franchises.

The ARU Chairman, Cameron Clyne, said “The ARU will undertake due process to ensure that both the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force are given adequate opportunity to present their business case before the board makes a final decision on which team to be removed.”

“We maintain our commitment to reaching resolution on this matter as soon as possible, however the timeline that we initially anticipated of 48-72 hours will not apply.

“As confirmed on Monday, we have commenced a consultation process with both teams and will provide an update at an appropriate time.”

The Eastern Cape’s Southern Kings and Free State’s Cheetahs, the two teams mainly under threat in SA, will surely also hope to be given adequate opportunity to put forward their case to SARU, for survival in the competition.