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Thread: McLennan praises reforms as 'resounding success' as build to 2027 begins

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    McLennan praises reforms as 'resounding success' as build to 2027 begins

    Wed, Oct 25, 2023, 8:32 PM
    Nathan Williamson


    RA Chairman Hamish McLennan has praised the changes to the global calendar and World Cup, labelling it as a massive win for the game in Australia.

    McLennan, who also serves as SANZAAR Chairman, was amongst those who voted for the changes, which will see an aligned global calendar headlined by a biennial 12-team tournament beginning from 2026.

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    "We were quietly confident that it would get voted through but you always have a level of trepidation but it was a resounding success for World Rugby," he told reporters.

    "We’ve cleaned up the global calendar, creating new competitions and it’s something that we’ve been calling out for years now and to see it actually arrive is fantastic...I think some fans have found it hard to follow the various competitions and so what this does is unify the whole lot together.

    "Led by Allan (Gilpin, World Rugby CEO) and (Sir) Bill (Beaumont), we’ve got a great outcome for the game and we’ve got some innovation. We’re creating new assets."

    Along with this, Rugby World Cup 2027 in Australia will expand to 24 teams, which will see an increase in games and the introduction of a round of 16, all within a shorter period than the 2023 event.

    "I think it means a broader competition, it's going to be more concentrated over that six week period," he said. "I think you'll see more games, potentially games during the week.

    "Everything's been around the weekend shoulder here, so I think the frequency games will be really exciting. It makes it more international and we can spread it further around the country. So, I think that's going to add to the festival-like nature of the competition.

    "You'll have more ticketing revenue and opportunity to drive sponsorship harder. And then because you're adding more games for TV, you got more content so the theory is that you should be able to charge more for your TV rights...I think what we missed this year was the US being involved in the competition. Theoretically, you'd hope for rugby playing nations like that can then join the comp and it makes it totally global."

    McLennan also hailed the shifting of the World Cup window back a month, set to start on October 3, which has been driven by Rugby Australia to ensure maximum exposure.

    "That's a massive win for us too because it means the AFL and the NRL finals will be out of the way and we'll have clean stadia, big venues and we can spread it right around the country from the get-go," he explained.

    "We raised it as an issue. It could have stayed where it was, but they realised that more optimal if it got pushed back two weeks, and everyone bought into it a bit. But Alan was the guy who made it happen.

    "The data suggested that it would be a better competition if we pushed it back two weeks, and they all agreed and so did the various council members today."

    McLennan and the World Cup organising committee have been keen observers of the tournament as the road to 2027 officially begins on Sunday.

    I think there's a massive opportunity for fan engagement," McLennan believes is the main lesson learnt from France 2023.

    "When you look at the AFL and the NRL and even soccer in Australia, the very fact that there'll be so many games, and we're so international and so differentiated that the people will be able to go to the games and experience what rugby is like. I think there'll be a huge benefit at a grassroots level. Now that we've agreed it to, we can plan for and execute the next four years.

    "The focus is on us. It's been on France for some time, but I think that spotlight being put on us will be really great for the game because it'll just be talked about for the next four years and then the Women's World Cup after that. I think it has reaffirmed to me that there are great global opportunities with sponsors and commercial partners."

    https://www.rugby.com.au/news/mclenn...egins-20231025

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The InnFORCEr View Post
    McLennan also hailed the shifting of the World Cup window back a month, set to start on October 3, which has been driven by Rugby Australia to ensure maximum exposure.

    "That's a massive win for us too because it means the AFL and the NRL finals will be out of the way and we'll have clean stadia, big venues and we can spread it right around the country from the get-go," he explained.

    "We raised it as an issue. It could have stayed where it was, but they realised that more optimal if it got pushed back two weeks, and everyone bought into it a bit. But Alan was the guy who made it happen.

    "The data suggested that it would be a better competition if we pushed it back two weeks, and they all agreed and so did the various council members today."
    Regardless of RA spin, the tournament had to be pushed back because of the AFL and NRL finals as they have long term ground agreements in place.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    It's just common sense. If the IRB had the same clout as FIFA they might have refused to budge. But they don't. Good outcome.

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