Super 14 organizers will stick with the four-team finals format after failing to reach agreement on how to expand the playoff system for the southern hemisphere’s premier provincial rugby tournament.

SANZAR, a partnership between the South Africa, New Zealand and Australia rugby unions, on Wednesday said it would postpone any change in the finals format until 2010.

“These were major issues with major implications in the different markets and we could not reach a consensus,” SA Rugby managing director Andy Marinos said. “We would all like to have gone to a six-team play-off series in 2009 and accepted that principle, but we could not agree on the play-off structure that was to be adopted and, in the interests of SANZAR, we opted to remain with the status quo.” SANZAR officials decided to continue to trial the Experimental Law Variations in the Super 14 and Tri-Nations competition, which features the national teams from the three countries.

The experimental process will allow the use of extra ELVs in addition to the 13 that have been on trial around the world since August 1, the SANZAR said.

“SANZAR was given IRB approval in May to further trial an expanded form of the ELVs and after reflection we have recommitted to that principle as an organization,” Marinos said. “We’re smart enough and professional enough as rugby nations to adapt when we have to.” The Super 14 competition kicks off Feb. 13.