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Thread: SANZAAR faces axe as details of NZ Rugby's 'Aratipu' review emerge

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    SANZAAR faces axe as details of NZ Rugby's 'Aratipu' review emerge

    Rugby: SANZAAR faces axe as details of NZ Rugby's 'Aratipu' review emerge

    Ollie Ritchie
    July 7, 2020

    Southern hemisphere rugby could be set for a major shakeup , with doubts emerging over the ongoing existence of SANZAAR.

    Sources tell Newshub that the governing body could disband altogether to leave international unions to go it alone, in one of a handful of key recommendations to come from the 'Aratipu' report commissioned by New Zealand Rugby in April.

    Newshub can reveal that SANZAAR's days of running the competition appear to be over from next year.

    As it stands, Super Rugby involves teams from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.

    The draft 'Aratipu' review recommends major changes from 2021 - namely a trans-Tasman competition with the addition of a team from the Pacific.

    Without teams from South Africa and Argentina, SANZAAR's governance of the competition would inevitably cease.

    The proposed changes to the competition have been welcomed by those involved.

    "As long as it keeps the qualities that are making this competition really successful," says Blues coach Leon MacDonald.

    "Strong teams right across the board, strong games... there's a little bit of a recipe here that as long as they don't deviate too far away from would be well received."

    But the 'Aratipu' review highlights the need for Super Rugby to be a feeder into something with much broader international appeal.

    It's understood that is what's seen as the missing piece to the Super Rugby puzzle and was identified by review chair Don Mackinnon from the outset.

    "Do we look at a Heineken cup type playoff model in the short to medium term whereby we're looking at the best of the best playing," Mackinnon queried at the announcement of the review in April.

    Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has also expressed his desire for there to be something more for the Super Rugby winners.

    "I love the idea of how we can connect up if we have a competition down here and then we can link to the north, that would make it pretty special," Robertson suggested in May.

    SANZAAR's sole purpose moving forward would be to oversee the Rugby Championship.

    But Tuesday's developments suggest that after quarter of a century, southern hemisphere rugby's united front could soon be over.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/sport...ew-emerge.html

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    This is good news. Let’s hope it comes to pass.

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    Maybe not...

    Australia-only option on table as NZ play hard ball over Super Rugby

    By Georgina Robinson
    July 8, 2020 — 8.25pm

    Australia is contemplating a Big Bash-style domestic rugby competition dotted with international names as New Zealand attitudes appear to harden against a five-team Australian presence next year.

    Despite reports on Wednesday a New Zealand Rugby review favoured a trans-Tasman replacement for Super Rugby in 2021, Australian officials were alarmed to learn through other channels that at least half the NZR board favoured an eight-team competition, featuring the five existing Kiwi sides, a Pacific Islands team and just two Australian franchises.

    Rugby Australia would not countenance a three-team proposal floated earlier this year so would reject out of hand a format with room for even fewer Australian teams.

    The other half of the nine-person NZR board favoured a 10-team trans-Tasman model with a degree of open borders policy on player movement, sources told the Herald.

    But if the conservative faction of the board were to win out, Australia would have no choice but to go it alone, building out a six- or eight-team domestic competition and opening up squads to South African and Argentinian players, in a riff on the international flavour of cricket's Big Bash League. Reaching out to Japan would also be an option, sources said.

    RA chairman Hamish McLennan declined to comment on the speculation, while NZR did not respond to a request for comment.

    The news will come as a blow to proponents of the 10-team trans-Tasman model, which many believe will strike the best commercial and high performance balance for the two countries.

    But in the face of potential strong-arm tactics from New Zealand, who would control the eight-team competition, RA is understood to be comfortable with an amped-up domestic option.

    It comes as communication from New Zealand has dropped off, with a publicised conference call put off indefinitely between the chief executives of the 10 New Zealand and Australian Super Rugby sides.

    The Kiwis could have been waiting to finalise their Aratipu review, excerpts of which were leaked on Wednesday.

    One of the recommendations, widely foreshadowed in Australia in recent months, was to disband the 25-year-old SANZAAR joint venture at a Super Rugby level, leaving the four-nation alliance intact for the international level Rugby Championship only.

    The move would give all nations the freedom to pursue new alliances, with the potential to link up again in a championship-style finals series. South Africa have long been linked to a permanent move to the Pro 14, although officials have denied this is a serious option.

    Clouding the issue is the continued uncertainty over what impact COVID-19 will have on next year's schedule. Given case numbers in South Africa and second wave potential in Australia, it appears unlikely a long-term structure could be locked in. Even New Zealand, which has allowed crowds to return at sports matches, continues to deal with isolated cases.

    Unions could be forced to agree a one-year interim structure and reassess at a later stage, pending travel restrictions.

    New Zealand's concerns appear to centre on Australia's capacity to field five teams of sufficient strength.

    Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest's recent $5 million commitment to RugbyWA, plus whatever terms were reached on the Western Force's participation in Super Rugby AU, appear to have shored up the club's position as a key part of Australia's 2021 plans.

    The thawing relationship between Forrest and the new RA regime, namely McLennan, put the governing body in an awkward position as regards the rest of the Australian landscape.

    On New Zealand's terms, one or more of the current east coast sides would have to go, an untenable position for the code as it tries to trade its way out of the coronavirus shutdown.

    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-u...08-p55aap.html

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    Last edited by Ham105; 08-07-20 at 22:11. Reason: url

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    They assume the two teams the Kiwis are interested in aren't the Force and Brumbies...

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Well, to accurately quote the article, it said one OR MORE east coast teams, but I know what you're saying and they wer probably thinking it

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    C'mon the

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    Have New Zealand and South Africa keep a combined competition. We can expand GRR and cross it over with Japan's new comp like the American Major League baseball

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    Japan and the Pacific Islands for Aussie Super 9's!

    Let's have one of these in WA! Click this link: Saitama Super Arena - New Perth Stadium?

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    Veteran Bakkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyS View Post
    They assume the two teams the Kiwis are interested in aren't the Force and Brumbies...
    The Kiwis know that the Brumbies are the only competitive Australian side.

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    Champion Contributor sandgroperrugby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    The Kiwis know that the Brumbies are the only competitive Australian side.
    The only consistently competitive. Which would just irk NSW

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyS View Post
    They assume the two teams the Kiwis are interested in aren't the Force and Brumbies...
    Good pick up there Andy. Twiggy has made friends in high places in NZ rugby, who may also interested in his $ support.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandgroperrugby View Post
    Which would just irk NSW
    I knew ther was an upside somwhere there.

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    More in this saga:

    Penney warns NZ Rugby off going alone

    July 9 2020 - 4:32PM
    Daniel Gilhooly

    NSW Waratahs coach Rob Penney has fired a warning shot at New Zealand Rugby (NZR) to weigh the importance of trans-Tasman relations when considering a new competition to replace Super Rugby.

    Penney said Kiwi rugby bosses would pay a hefty price if they tried to play hard ball over the number of Australian teams in whatever format the competition took from 2021 onwards.

    NZR chief executive Mark Robinson hit out at Australian media reports that his board was split over two possible preferred models - an open-border split of five NZ and five Australian franchises; or an eight-team competition featuring five from NZ, just two from Australia and one from the Pacific.

    A Sydney Morning Herald report said Rugby Australia (RA) was poised to reject any proposal featuring three or less Australian teams and would set about creating its own competition, potentially inviting offshore players.

    Robinson responded that he hadn't received any steer on RA's preference from counterpart Rob Clarke on Thursday in a meeting.

    New Zealander Penney said it was obvious neither country would benefit long term from continuing with the internal Super Rugby competitions which had been launched this year in response to COVID-19.

    "Isolation is probably not the ideal scenario for anyone but, if New Zealand want to do that - at their own peril," he said.

    "If New Zealand don't get positive around the relationship they have with Australia, that is their loss.

    "They probably see themselves in a powerful bubble, which they have done for a number of years - so be it. We'll create one (competition) here and then they'll come knocking, I'm sure."

    Robinson said the board had yet to even see a copy of the independent Kiwi-driven "Aratipu Report" recommendations which would be made public next week.

    "There's nothing we're hearing about what they (Australia) would and wouldn't be open to at this stage," he said.

    "I'm not aware of what Australia are particularly focused on in that area."

    Robinson said suggestions his board was split was "absolute nonsense" and played down growing noise that the SANZAAR joint venture was on the verge of being dismantled.

    He indicated SANZAAR might not be the governing entity of the Super Rugby replacement, depending on what format it took, but it would continue to oversee the running of a Test tournament.

    Robinson confirmed SANZAAR was investigating staging this year's Rugby Championship in Australia and/or New Zealand and NZR had pitched to be sole host of the tournament.

    Talks remained "dynamic" on staging a Bledisloe Cup series, he said.

    However, the touted prospect of an All Blacks-Kangaroos hybrid match in December was fading as a prospect, primarily because NZR had received no recent updates from the NRL.

    "They might have got cold feet - we're not sure," Robinson said.

    "It's quiet at present and that's OK with us. We've got lots of things to work on."

    Australian Associated Press

    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/sto...f-going-alone/

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    Player cedric rainwater's Avatar
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    why the flying fcuk would the kiwis be bothered about about the aussies.
    the grounds are full and the skill level is high.
    the only thing would be the tv revenue side of things.
    other than that, the kiwis could go it alone.
    suits me, i prefer watching top class rugby instead of kiwi v aussie super rugby.

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    cider my arse

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    Y'know what? This could already be the wink and nod deal.

    NZ Rugby Super Rugby review identifies eight-team model as 'optimal' format

    Paul Cully
    July 9, 2020

    The proposed format would see South Africa and Argentina miss out.

    Super Rugby could be played as an eight-team competition in 2021 between New Zealand’s five franchises and the Waratahs, Reds and Brumbies under the ‘optimal’ format identified by New Zealand Rugby’s Aratipu review.

    The review, commissioned earlier this year, has been the source of intense interest across the Tasman but Stuff understands while that participants in the Aratipu review have identified the eight-team format as the best model, the three teams to join the five Kiwi teams remain a matter for discussion.

    Given the complexity of putting together a Pacific Islands team that could be sustainable, Rugby Australia could yet have to decide whether to field three sides in a high-quality competition that would engage fans and attract broadcasters.

    NZ Rugby CEO Mark Robinson said he had talked to Rugby Australia counterpart Rob Clarke on Thursday morning but wouldn’t be drawn on whether the Australians would accept a competition with only three Australian sides.

    “I’m not aware of what Australia are particularly focused on in that area,” Robinson said on Thursday morning.

    “It’s been a good dialogue there but there’s nothing we’re hearing about what they would and wouldn’t be open to at this stage.”

    Australia currently has five teams in its Super Rugby AU competition, with the Western Force joining the tournament alongside the Melbourne Rebels and the three longstanding franchises.

    There is no guarantee the NZ Rugby board will rubber-stamp the eight-team model.

    Robinson said the report would only be handed to the board early next week before directors discussed it next Thursday.

    Therefore, the option of a 10-team, full trans-Tasman competition is still alive, although there is concern in New Zealand about the strength of Australian rugby on and off the field.

    Even Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan recently conceded Australia does not have the depth for five teams at present, while it’s understood NZ Rugby chairman Brent Impey is leaning towards the eight-team model.

    The eight-team Aratipu format has also been created to give the top sides a window to participate in possible games against the top South African and/or Japanese sides, or even a mouthwatering ‘club world championship’ fixture between the best side in the southern hemisphere against the best side in the northern hemisphere.

    The issue of border closures also continues to weigh on the minds of rugby administrators, but it’s understood that Aratipu does not favour creating a sixth New Zealand team for a domestic competition, due to playing depth and commercial concerns.

    “Once the board has considered the report in full and all the different things that fall under the scope of the report we’ll be looking to make a public statement or be available to the media to discuss a full range of issues, including things like formats and the structure of the entities,” Robinson said.

    The CEO also rejected claims from Australia that the NZ Rugby board was split over the report.

    “There’s absolutely no division on our board whatsoever, it’s absolute nonsense to suggest so,” Robinson said.

    “The report doesn’t actually land with the board until some time next week. It's in consultation at the moment with different stakeholders.

    “It’s important to note that nothing has been decided. We’ve been working with various stakeholders since the end of last week getting feedback on where the report is starting to move to.

    “There’s a whole range of options being considered.”

    Robinson also shot down speculation that Sanzaar would be “dismantled” in the event of a trans-Tasman competition.

    “From our point of view Sanzaar remains a critical strategic partner, and we’re committed to the joint venture partnership,” he said.

    “Like everyone, Covid has had a massive impact on rugby and there are ongoing discussions with Sanzaar about what that might look like in the future.

    “But we’re committed to Sanzaar and as recently as Tuesday we were reconfirming our commitment to that partnership.”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/...optimal-format

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    Hmmmm can’t see Rob Clarke ever agreeing to cut his beloved Rebels. His best mates North and Docherty would never let him do that. And they know exactly where the bodies are buried.

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    Veteran valzc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    Hmmmm can’t see Rob Clarke ever agreeing to cut his beloved Rebels. His best mates North and Docherty would never let him do that. And they know exactly where the bodies are buried.
    ...and the pin numbers to those offshore accounts....

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