In a move that would have big ramifications for the global game, Rugby Australia has reportedly told New Zealand Rugby they are strongly considering a permanent departure from Super Rugby.
According to a report by Fox Sports, Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan informed NZR chair Stewart Mitchell that they are giving serious thought to calling it a day on Super Rugby after the 2023 season.
“We’ll honour our commitments in 2023 but we need to see what’s best for rugby in Australia leading up to the RWC in Australia in ’27,” McLennan told foxsports.com.au.
“All bets are off from 2024 onwards with NZ.”
New Zealand originally only wanted two Australian teams when they split from South Africa and Australia to form a new version of Super Rugby in 2021, which caused tension between the two national unions.
However, according to the latest report, NZR have since been willing to admit that they got it wrong – based on Australia’s competitiveness in the first season of Super Rugby Pacific – and want to sign a new extension beyond 2023.
Part of the problem is that NZR is earning a significant amount more in broadcast revenue – $91-million compared to the $29m that Australia earns each year.
Rugby Australia would reportedly focus on forming a strong domestic competition, adding a second team in Queensland and New South Wales. They would also reportedly look to strengthen their relationship with Sanzaar partners South Africa and Argentina.
This news comes as Australia is on the brink of a ‘golden decade’ which will include hosting the next British & Irish Lions tour and the 2027 and 2029 World Cups.
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