Australian rugby could be on a collision course with the AFL by creating a new Gold Coast team in 2011. Australian Rugby Union chief John O'Neill today said the Gold Coast was a possible location for a new Super rugby entity. He said any new team was unlikely until 2011 - the same year the AFL plans a Gold Coast team. O'Neill today described the AFL as "the gorilla in the room", recognising their cashed up ambitions in traditional rugby heartlands. But he pledged the Australian Rugby Union would "look after our backyard and maybe open a new market". O'Neill said there was potential for a Super team in Japan and "we could put a Super rugby team in Melbourne down the track, possibly the Gold Coast as well". "The earliest we could bring in new teams would be 2011 when the new broadcasting deal cuts in," he said today. O'Neill said AFL expansion into western Sydney and the Gold Coast was the inevitability of Australia being "the most fiercely contested sports market in the world". "The gorilla in the room is the AFL," he said. "AFL are ambitious and have run their game very well and they are very cashed up - what they are spending on in development and recruitment in NSW and Queensland is pretty daunting. "It has taken them a while to make inroads in NSW and Queensland ... it has been hard going for them but the dam can break. "In some of the real heartland for rugby, which has been the private school systems in Sydney and Brisbane, AFL is around - it doesn't have a big penetration but they are after very similar athletes. "We can't duck it, it's there. "We will be responding." O'Neill said any new Australian Super rugby entity, which must be ratified by New Zealand and South Africa, required careful ARU reflection. "The judgment call for us in putting out an extra team is to make sure internally we are able to put a fifth team on the field that would be competitive," he said. "It opens the door slightly on the introduction of foreign players [to play for Australian Super teams] ... maybe a marquee player to provide a bit more sex appeal to the competition. "I think it's time we opened our door a little to allow foreign players to play." O'Neill said the ARU also desired a 26-week Super competition by "not necessarily adding new teams at first, just simply playing a round and a half". "That sort of critical mass of content does give us a chance to go more head to head with the AFL and NRL," he said. "There is nothing to stop that happening, an expansion to 26 weeks, even as early as next year but the addition of an extra Australian team or a team out of Tokyo would probably not happen until 2011." Link: http://www.rugbyheaven.com.au/news/news/ru...7420180402.html John O'Neill is certainly pushing things since regaining the top job in the ARU! I doubt Australia have the depth to add a fifth (and possibly 6th) Super Rugby team which is why I find his idea about adding foreign players in conjunction to an expanded schedule intriguing (as he has stated previously). Clearly the primary areas from which to "plunder" extra talent for a larger season and extra teams would be the south sea islands and Argentina. While O'Neill is only looking after Australian interests, his plan could help smaller nations develop immeasurably .