The legendary flyhalf believes that to exit Super Rugby and creating a new competition across Asia would reduce the problem of Australian and Kiwi Super Rugby franchises losing their young talent to clubs in the UK, Europe and Japan.
According to ESPN, Mehrtens stated it was time the current competition was disbanded and a new tournament created comprising teams from Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
“Going forward if we push into Asia, if we can develop a competition that’s in the same timezone I think it’s going to be a better product,” the former All Blacks flyhalf said. “I’ve said for a long time, we need to drop South Africa – as much as I love South Africa – logistically it’s a pain in and the same with Argentina.
“Argentina needs to go up their timezone with the USA; South Africa go probably start developing franchises in Dubai or somewhere there, but I think our push is into Asia.”
He added: “We’re up against big Northern Hemisphere economies in Europe and England, so Australia being strong as a rugby brand is important to New Zealand as well. Australia has a bigger economic footprint into Asia and I’m fully of the belief that’s our future getting into that market there and helping develop that.
“If we push into Asia I think at that point New Zealand rugby has got to say ‘well OK, we’re going to allow our players to play offshore so long as they play in our competition’. If they don’t go to France, they don’t to England or Ireland or whatever; so long as they stay in our competition and it brings teams in this new market for rugby, eventually they’re going to have to face facts and still select them.”
Season 5 – Episode 3
The Rugby Pod gave their reaction to the news that Saracens will not appeal the 35 point deduction that they were given in light of breaching salary cap regulations.
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