NZ set to suffer Trans-Tasman tournament blow

Reports from Australia suggest that Rugby Australia are set to rebuff New Zealand Rugby’s proposal for a trans-Tasman alternative to Vodacom Super Rugby.

Last week, New Zealand Rugby outlined plans to enter its five Vodacom Super Rugby sides into a new competition from 2021, which is set to exclude any South African sides and not involve Argentina’s Jaguares.

In a statement released by NZ Rugby, chief executive Mark Robinson announced that they were eyeing an eight-to-10-team tournament, with a strong desire to include one side from the Pacific island.

Expressions of interest were being sought from Australian Rugby.

However, in what could be a significant blow to those plans, the Sydney Morning Herald have reported that Rugby Australia is expected to ignore the opportunity and pursue plans for their own eight-team competition.

RA chairperson Hamish McLennan has previously voiced his desire for all five of the current Super Rugby AU teams – including the Western Force – to be involved in a trans-Tasman tournament. However, the current numbers only leave room for between two and four Australian teams.

‘The expression of interest I’m not interested in and if they send it over I won’t open it,’ McLennan told the Sydney Morning Herald.

This comes days after SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux reiterated that any legally-binding change to Super Rugby in the long term would need to be a joint decision taken at the executive level.

‘New Zealand has opted to play a domestic competition first before a possible crossover competition within the old Super Rugby format,’ Roux said. ‘That format is still being discussed by Sanzaar and there are different options on the table.

‘I see we are being deemed as having been kicked out of Super Rugby. If anything, New Zealand kicked themselves out of it.

‘New Zealand has every right to determine its future, but in terms of Sanzaar’s joint venture agreement, there is a very legal agreement in place and you have to act within it. If you are in breach of that joint venture agreement, you make yourself liable for legal action from the other parties.’

Rugby Australia have continued working towards their alternative which is an eight-team tournament featuring all five Australian professional outfits, a Fijian Drua team, an Argentinian side and the Sunwolves.

JURIE ROUX: South Africa has not been kicked out of Super Rugby

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