It’s an idea that’s been bandied about for years but it looks like the concept could soon become a reality: New Zealand and Australia are reportedly giving serious consideration to a hybrid rugby match played between the All Blacks and the Kangaroos.
The Courier Mail have reported that New Zealand Rugby and the Australian Rugby League are currently in talks regarding what could be a multi-million-dollar revenue-generating event for the rival codes.
Negotiations have been taking place for three months but the reports suggest that the idea could finally be coming to fruition in time for the All Blacks and the Kangaroos to square off in early December.
NZR chief execture Mark Robinson confirmed to media on Thursday that while test rugby remained the priority for the All Blacks, the union would consider all options, including a potential cross-code match.
“We must be very clear that our priority is for the All Blacks to play international rugby for the remainder of the year and we’ve talked about the uncertainty around that,” Robinson said. “But we’ve had the option put to us of this hybrid game with the Kangaroos and it’s one of many different scenarios in a unique year like this that we are considering with being innovative and having a focus on trying to consider revenue-generating ideas at this time given the financial climate that we’re in.”
Minimal downside and huge potential upside. @bensmithrugby on why a hybrid test could be a financial solution to help both rugby codes in Australasia once sport is able to resume. https://t.co/wOIzpnjo6f
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 14, 2020
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga also confirmed the match was being very seriously considered.
“We are in serious negotiations,” Meninga said. “We are still in talks but obviously news of this has got out.
“I’m keen to make this happen. We want to play the All Blacks, hopefully we can get the concept off the ground.
“This would take the Kangaroos to the world. There will be global recognition. The best from our game versus the best from the New Zealand game … let’s do it.”
The NZR are reportedly especially keen for the fixture to take place and discussed the match at a board meeting on Wednesday. Meninga, meanwhile, has been discussing the concept with ARL chairman Peter V’landys, who has received a proposal and is examining the financial implications of the mooted contest.
Meninga is so supportive of the idea, he has already consulted Australian players on whether they would be interested in playing a one-off game against New Zealand in the back-end of 2020, once State of Origin commitments have been completed in November.
The global Coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted the financials of both NZR and NRL and the New Zealand union have been considering a number of one-off events to try and recoup some of the lost revenue. A hybrid game between two of the most successful sports teams of all time would naturally bring in considerable dollars for both parties.
V’landys received an initial offer on Monday with the ARL Commission expected to make a final decision shortly.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now