New Zealand may not adhere to World Rugby’s global calender.
Chief Executive of the New Zealand Rugby Union, Steve Tew, has sensationally delivered an ultimatum to World Rugby, as a result of the governing bodies inability to create a global calender.
With no test matches scheduled to be played after the 2019 World Cup, Tew claims that the NZRU will not to co-operate with the governing body beyond that date unless changes are made to the global calender.
Instead, Tew has threatened that the NZRU will negotiate individual tests for the All Blacks beyond 2020. Tew told kiwi news site, Stuff,
We need a different season structure than we have now and we’re not going to default to the current one. We’re going to force that issue.
People will have to come to the table and we’ll negotiate individual matches in 2020 which wouldn’t be bad for a short period of time quite frankly.
Apart from issuing such an ultimatum, the NZRU seconded Bill Beaumont to succeed Bernard Lapasset as World Rugby chairman, in return for progress on the issue.
I wouldn’t call it a precondition we just expect him [Beaumont] to show some leadership in that area…
That’s the urgency and from our point of view we think that’s not a bad thing and we’ve made it very clear around the World Rugby table that there’s no default option.
We don’t believe the current system is sustainable.
Under the current system, the southern hemisphere nations keep all of the revenue generated through the summer test series, and the reverse occurs during the Autumn internationals in the north.
However the NZRU believe that this system is unfair as ‘its small stadiums can’t generate anywhere near comparable revenue from ticket sales’. Consequently, despite the All Blacks being a massive draw during the November series, they gain no financial benefit from travelling north.
Apart from the financial benefits of creating a global calender, the NZRU also point out that the June series interrupts the Super Rugby season, and argue that unified breaks in the calender ‘would help manage workloads at a time when players are asked to batter their bodies through more rugby than ever’.
South Africa support Tew’s call for a unified season, as does Argentina’s Agustin Pichot, the man expected to assume World Rugby’s vice-chairman role in May.
As if to underline how serious they are about negotiate individual tests, New Zealand have already announced that they will play Ireland outside of the Autmn test window in Chicago on November 5.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
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