Rugby

SANZAR marriage on the rocks

2010-08-16 08:09
Oregan Hoskins (Gallo)
Sydney - The South African Rugby Union are looking at breaking up the SANZAR alliance because their relationship with Australia and New Zealand is so damaged.

The Sunday Times newspaper in Johannesburg on Sunday reported that SARU have already got the ball rolling on what they'll do when the current SANZAR deal runs out in 2015 and are considering ending Super Rugby and the Four Nations.

At an executive council meeting in South Africa last week the first nail in the coffin of SANZAR was hammered, with the decision made to look at splitting away from the NZRU and ARU.

Chairperson of the SARU board Dr Jan Marais confirmed to the Sunday Times that they want to look elsewhere.

"The council gave the instruction that we should look at other possibilities beyond 2015," Marais said.

"We can't do anything about the current agreement because we are locked in until that contract expires.

"However, there is a strong feeling that we should look at possibilities we can explore at the conclusion of the current broadcasting deal."

Relations between SARU and SANZAR partners New Zealand and Australia have been strained for a few years and the relationship was nearly terminated last year when the three countries were trying to negotiate a broadcasting deal to kick in when the current one ends this year.

But since the new deal was signed there has been no improvement in relations, with this season probably being the worst since SANZAR was formed in 1996.

This year the Springboks management have complained throughout the Tri Nations about the way referees were officiating them and the All Blacks.

There was also unrest when SANZAR pushed ahead with a misconduct hearing against Springboks coach Peter de Villiers, who said referees wanted the All Blacks to get winning results to help make next year's World Cup a success.

When SANZAR ordered a the hearing it sent SARU president Oregan Hoskins into such a rage that he called it a "declaration of war".

In yesterday's report Hoskins did appear to be in a more restrained mood, but admitted relations had been "tense".

"Tri Nations rugby is a robust game and we have robust conversations in the boardroom and occasionally knock each other down and have to pick each other up, dust ourselves off and get on with it," Hoskins said.

"But it has been like that since day one.

"The bottom line is that this is the toughest rugby competition in the world and we're fully part of it with our neighbours.

"In that spirit, we'll be having discussions with New Zealand and Australia when they're here and after that we'll get on with ensuring we continue to produce the best rugby competition in the world."

Stuff.co.nz had asked to have an interview with Hoskins this week to allow him the opportunity to explain SARU's concerns, but this request was turned down.

Read more on:    sanzar  |  saru  |  oregan hoskins
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