Aus boss: No bluffs over Super Rugby exit

Rugby Australia chief Hamish McLennan says that while there is progress in restoring the relationship with New Zealand, an exit from Super Rugby is not yet off the cards.

Back in June, McLennan threatened New Zealand Rugby with a Super Rugby exit unless Australia was given a greater share of broadcast revenue.

MORE: Australia threatens New Zealand with Super Rugby exit

In an update on the situation between the two national unions, McLennan told ESPN that talks are progressing, but refused to completely rule out leaving Super Rugby as an option.

“It is [a real option], we wouldn’t have said it if we weren’t real,” McLennan told reporters on Thursday.

“There’s no doubt, we’ve said it publicly, that the high-performance outcomes would probably be better with New Zealand in the mix. But we’re not going to play second fiddle, so time will tell if we’re bluffing.

“But they know we’re serious, we’ve got the backing of our member unions, Super Rugby club chairs and Channel 9 to go domestic. And, look, we haven’t won a Bledisloe in 20 years, so who’s to say that a domestic competition wouldn’t deliver more money to Rugby Australia and possibly, with more teams and more players, better high-performance outcomes.

“We’ll see.”

If it does leave, Rugby Australia would reportedly focus on forming a strong domestic competition, adding a second team in Queensland and New South Wales. It would also reportedly look to strengthen its relationship with Sanzaar partners South Africa and Argentina.

“We’re not there, it’s grinding forward I would say. I saw [NZR officials] in Cape Town last week for the sevens, so hopefully it will resolve itself or we’ll go domestic … I think the new regime understands and appreciates that New Zealand’s future is tied to Australia’s success.

“Whether you call that respect, I don’t know, but I think there’s an acknowledgement that we’re actually a pretty important part of their mix now.”

Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

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