The Covid-19 pandemic has cast a lot of uncertainty over the global rugby calendar, the combination of travel restrictions, lockdowns and social distancing meaning international competitions and fixtures seem increasingly unlikely this year.
Australia could well follow with a similar internal competition, and a potential four-Test Bledisloe Cup series also looks to be in the works. But the prospect of the All Blacks or Wallabies touring Europe at the end of the year looks to be a faint hope.
In such a crisis, unions have been forced to innovate – as seen with Super Rugby Aotearoa – but many more ideas are being shared by those involved in the game. Ex-All Blacks winger Cory Jane has given his opinion on the concept of a North versus South Island contest in New Zealand.
This is an idea that has been perennially discussed but has gathered even more momentum during the pandemic with current and former players weighing in on the matter. With limited options outside of New Zealand, this is now a case of looking within.
How cool would it be if they play this North Vs South rugby game, that they let the Fans vote for the players to play in it ?
It could be like a NBA all star game..
The coaches coaching the teams still pick who starts the game but the Fans determine who’s in the 23 ?
— Cory Jane (@CoryJane1080) May 12, 2020
2011 World Cup winner James, who now works on the Hurricanes coaching staff, wants to see a system similar to the NBA’s All-Star game where players are voted by fans and then selected by coaches. Given the depth and class of the player base in New Zealand, this contest would unequivocally be of Test match standard.
If there was any doubt about the quality of this possible fixture, four of New Zealand’s five franchises were crowned Super Rugby champions in the past decade alone, in addition to the All Blacks’ two RWC titles and a litany of Rugby Championships.
This is something that has been nothing short of a pipe dream in recent years and although there are some obstacles, namely determining the eligibility of players, it is growing ever closer to potentially being a reality.
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