Rugby tours akin to those of the amateur days of the game could well be the future of the code, according to three former All Blacks.
Speaking to former teammate Jeff Wilson on Sky Sport‘s The Breakdown, All Blacks greats Justin Marshall and Sir John Kirwan supported the notion of reinstating lengthy international tours that would see test teams face off against provincial and clubs sides in mid-week clashes.
The future of rugby around the globe is being assessed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, which has put significant financial pressure on organisations worldwide after the sport came to a standstill midway through last month.
The economic implications of coronavirus has called into question the feasibility of competitions such as Super Rugby, which is one of many leagues where clubs have had to enforce redundancies and salary slashes to stay afloat.
Super Rugby had already been facing problems in terms of maintaining fan engagement prior to the suspension of the competition, but the pandemic has allowed relevant governing bodies an opportunity to evaluate their shortfalls and assess where improvements can be made once the virus is contained.
New Zealand Rugby announced earlier this week an investigation into the future of Super Rugby, where factors including hefty international travel and a monotonous schedule have contributed to its gradual downfall as the world’s premier club competition.
Wilson suggested a potential solution to help regain fan interest in the sport in the form of old-school tours, whereby the likes of the All Blacks would play in a three-match test series as well as mid-week fixtures against local outfits.
“I look at this as a massive opportunity for not just players but for everyone, fans in particular” Wilson said on Tuesday.
“Surely there would be a hunger to see South Africa come back to New Zealand and play a three-test series?
“I look at ’93, my first tour for the All Blacks. It’s an incredibly special time.
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