Canada and the United States are a step closer to inclusion in an expanded Super Rugby competition in 2016.
Both sides have been included in the Pacific Nations Cup this year, a move praised by SANZAR boss Greg Peters.
"We are considering whether or not we will include new territories in Super Rugby and one of the factors we'll be weighing up is their competitiveness," Peters told The Australian yesterday.
"Super Rugby in its present form is a pretty successful model ... and we are not going to water it down. But we'd be derelict in our duty if we didn't consider expanding into areas. The United States is a very big market and so is Japan and Asia generally. Ultimately it all comes down to what is in the best interests of the three SANZAR parties."
South Africa, Australia and New Zealand will decide later this year whether or not to expand the competition in 2016 when the next broadcast deal starts.
Peters said the travel factor would be a major part of the decision as the competition already involves the most travel of any sports league in the world.
"Player welfare is a big consideration. That said, the conference system does provide us with a degree of flexibility, either in terms of adding new conferences or adding new teams to existing conferences."
The Pacific Nations Cup will provide Canada and the US with their first taste of regular international competition against sides from Japan, Fiji and Tonga.
- Fairfax Media