SANZAAR’s partner nations are working on other options if the mooted world league doesn’t go ahead, with a more meaningful Rugby Championship on the SANZAAR agenda.
The exact format for the mooted 12-team Nations Championship tournament, which would be played in all non-World Cup years, is still to be thrashed out.
Players have expressed concerns about workload and question marks remain over promotion and relegation and which nations would initially contest the competition.
While Rugby Australia supports the concept, chairman, Cameron Clyne revealed his organisation was looking at other options if the tournament didn’t get a green light.
“We’re working with our SANZAAR partners to create new versions of the Rugby Championship with things going forward to the next broadcast cycle which hopefully will mirror that concept and create something that’s a bit more meaningful,” Clyne said.
Asked what changes could be implemented Clyne said: “We’re pretty flexible.”
“We’re happy to look at any of the concepts.
“Things like promotion and relegation, those sorts of things which I know are difficult concepts but that adds interest to the game.
“We’re open to any sort of formats.”
A report in the Sydney Morning Herald suggested that broadcasters are pushing for a host of changes to the Super Rugby competition, including moving the final to a neutral venue from 2021 instead of the home ground of the highest-ranked team.
This would mirror the European Champions Cup competition final and the Super Bowl in the NFL which is bid for year-to-year by a new host city.
The broadcasters have asked for more player movement across teams to provide parity with a pool of ‘marquee players’ able to move across the SANZAAR nations without it impacting their test eligibility, as well as a return to all Super Rugby teams featuring their home city or region in their names, as was the case when the competition started.
The Rugby Championship would also move towards a ‘touring’ model where extended squads can be used to play mid-week games against Super Rugby teams in the lead-up to test matches.
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