Boss issues NZ threat before Bledisloe opener

Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan says his threat to walk away from New Zealand and go domestic at club level remains live despite some productive trans-Tasman discussions this month.

Super Rugby Pacific will continue in 2023 with five teams from Australia, five from NZ as well as the new Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika outfits.

But the shape of the competition beyond that remains uncertain as McLennan continues to push for a better deal for Australia.

Watch every match of the Rugby Championship on the home of rugby, Stan Sport. Continue September 15 with the Bledisloe Cup opener. All matches streaming ad-free, live and on demand

McLennan, speaking before Thursday’s Bledisloe Cup opener in Melbourne, described NZR chairman Stewart Mitchell a “really good guy” and said discussions were “grinding forward.”

“Hopefully it will resolve itself or we’ll go domestic,” McLennan said, while being asked whether he felt RA was now getting more respect and leverage at the bargaining table.

“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 acknowledgment that we’re actually a pretty important part of their mix now .”

LIVE COVERAGE: Follow all the action from the Bledisloe opener

READ MORE: NRL bad boy who became unlikely final weapon

READ MORE: The only scenario stopping Hird from Essendon job

Beale, Mitchell re-live 2010 heroics

McLennan also denied he was bluffing about going solo while acknowledging a healthy trans-Tasman competition remained the best model.

“We wouldn’t have said it if we weren’t real. 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 .

NEW PODCAST! Sean Maloney, Andrew Mehrtens and Morgan Turinui chat Rugby Championship, Shute Shield and welcome two special guests who have cycled around the world ahead of the women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand

“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 .”

McLennan said he was taking no pleasure from New Zealand’s rugby struggles, with the All Blacks winning just three of their last nine Tests.

“The troubles that they’ve had just shows you how hard it is to get those combinations right in any team. They’re quite fragile organisations. They’ll get it right, don’t underestimate them and I think they’ll be great tonight too.

All Blacks back to their best

“You can never write the All Blacks off.”

McLennan added that the Wallabies performances had been “a little frustrating” in 2022, while acknowledging other teams were also struggling to back up good performances.

“If you can knock over the Springboks, and even playing Argentina in that country is difficult so I think Dave’s (Rennie) made real progress.

Tempers flare, yellow flies after sensational Mapimpi try

“It’s a pretty obvious thing to say but they need more consistency in their game. They’re heading in the right direction, there’s no doubt.”

Despite the Wallabies slumping to a worst-ever world ranking of eighth, McLennan backed Rennie to guide the team through to next year’s Rugby World Cup.

“Absolutely. Dave’s done a great job in settling the team down. There’s been real progress that’s been made. He’s as frustrated as anyone,” McLennan said.

“The world rankings, you can sort of use them as a data point, but everyone in world rugby can see that the Wallabies have come back and are on the move and are heading in the right direction. So I take a lot of heart from that.”

For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here

#Boss #issues #threat #Bledisloe #opener

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.