'Stupidest thing I've ever heard': Ex-Wallaby says Australia should 'thank' Kiwi brothers
Former Wallaby hooker Jeremy Paul has slammed the idea that Australian Rugby should break away from Super Rugby Pacific in order to form a domestic-only competition.
A report by Fox Sports in the lead-up to the Super Rugby Pacific final suggested that ‘all bets were off’ for Rugby Australia following the expiration of the current deal in 2023.
Chairman Hamish McLennan said that considerations were being made to maximise the commercial interests of the game in Australia.
Paul, who played 72 tests for the Wallabies and over 100 caps for the Brumbies, called the suggestion ‘one of the stupidest’ ideas that he has heard when talking to SENZ Radio.
“It’s probably, arguably, one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard,” Paul said on SENZ Afternoons.
“The worst thing that we could ever do for our Australian (game) … not only from a competition point of view but also a development point of view … (would be to leave).”
Following the pandemic both countries had to run domestic only versions of Super Rugby which for was a boon for crowd numbers in Australia, particularly for the final of Super Rugby AU which drew a massive crowed in Brisbane in 2021.
Only the Brumbies managed to secure a home playoff quarter-final in the inaugural Super Rugby Pacific but missed out of the final in controversial circumstances with a one point loss to the Blues at Eden Park.
However, the Australian sides improved overall this season by winning way more games against the Kiwi sides than previous seasons, indicating that the gap is closing between the sides.
Paul highlighted the Waratahs win over the Crusaders at Leichhardt Oval as a meaningful fixture that showed how important is was to Australia to earn that result.
“When we beat New Zealand sides, the level of rugby is phenomenal, and you’ve got kids that were crying. Did you see that young (Tane) Edmed kid from NSW this year after the Waratahs beat the Crusaders? He started crying,” he said.
“We’ve gone now through a generation where kids haven’t seen the Bledisloe Cup, or haven’t … like, to win in New Zealand, in terms of just the Super Rugby side, is the biggest thing.
“We need to be a consistent brand which is playing good footy and be thankful to our New Zealand brothers that are actually letting us play with them.
“It’s got to be like … we’re just happy to be here, and we should be.”
Paul’s comments echo the sentiment of the Wallabies’ Kiwi coach Dave Rennie who said it was good for both countries to be playing each other.
“I think it’s good for both countries that we play Trans-Tasman footy,” Rennie said.
“I think the competition has been excellent this year, and our sides have been more competitive. I think it’s good for them, it’s good for us. I’d like to see that continue.
“They’ve got some of the best players In the world. You want to be playing the best players. That’s how we will get better and be challenged, so it’s important.”
Join free and tell us what you really think!Join Free