Super Rugby as we know it is dead, and New Zealand Rugby knows that according to Australian reports.
This is the groundbreaking claim from Rugby Australia chairman Paul McLean, after speaking to his New Zealand counterpart Brent Impey over the weekend.
Impey and McLean made contact to discuss the World Rugby elections, but then moved on to Super Rugby, according to The Australian.
NZR chief executive Mark Robinson announced a major Super Rugby review this week, without giving any serious hint about a new direction. There is clearly some urgency however, with an initial report to the board scheduled for the end of June.
Virus-related travel difficulties and expense may encourage New Zealand and Australia to forge ahead without South Africa and Argentina.
The Australian, after talking to McLean, said a pandemic-shaped trans-Tasman competition could become permanent.
“I can’t see and they (NZR) can’t see South Africa and Argentina being involved anywhere in the short term along the way,” it reported McLean as saying.
“I think they know that the competition next year may be the competition they sell to their broadcasters (long-term).
“Everyone is in the same boat and their broadcasters are under the same pressure as us, I suspect – like everyone around the world.”
There is no date set for a Super Rugby resumption. New Zealand and Australia have reportedly been talking about somehow linking their two domestic competitions.
Australia is hoping their two test series against Ireland, set for July, will be played late in the year. Australia is likely to follow Queensland’s lead in allowing training to resume on Friday, with matches to begin on July 1.
RA is also looking at how Aussie Rules and the NRL run their sports, in re-shaping their game.
NZR has set up a Super Rugby review named Aratipu, chaired by Blues chairman Don Mackinnon.
Robinson said New Zealand was “committed to SANZAAR and our broadcast agreement with Sky TV”.
“…(there is) a real desire to drive positive change in the way Super Rugby is administered and played.
“It is a hugely positive signal for the game that Clubs, investors and NZR are coming together to do what is in the best interests for Super Rugby and rugby in New Zealand.
“Super Rugby is a vital part of our rugby eco-system and has a solid 25-year track record as a strong and admired rugby competition that has valuable intellectual property and a legacy of world class rugby. We are committed to setting New Zealand Super Rugby up to continue this success for another 25 years.”
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