Johannesburg - SA Rugby will join New Zealand in a
"hard push" to try and get a global season underway by 2020.
The governing body confirmed they would support the push for
the northern and southern hemisphere seasons to be more aligned to make the
global game run smoother when it comes up for discussion in the near future at
World Rugby's executive committee meetings in future.
New World Rugby chairperson Bill Beaumont and his new deputy
Agustin Pichot will be confirmed next month in their positions in the places of
Bernard Lapasset and Oregan Hoskins respectively and it is hoped the new
leadership will finally begin a strong push towards a global season for the
New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew has reignited the
discussion on the Global Season when he confirmed the All Blacks were serious
about making sure it happened by 2020 and could well withdraw from the World
Rugby tours programme if an agreement is not reached.
SARU CEO Jurie Roux told SuperSport.com that South Africa
was very much in favour of something different to the current tours agreement
that ends in 2019.
"Everyone in the game knows that we have an issue
around the season structure and the impact on player welfare and World Rugby is
already exploring new options," said Roux.
“There’s no silver bullet for this problem and it is
something that has been exercising minds for a number of years. But there is
widespread agreement that there is no appeal in continuing the current model
beyond the current tours agreement (2019).
“Any new format must strengthen the integrity of Test rugby
and address the key considerations for southern hemisphere rugby of financial
sustainability and player welfare.
“It’ll take a change in mindsets to achieve that and will
mean a shake-up in what has become the norm but we have to explore the
Part of that change in mindset needs to come in that the Six
Nations countries will need to change the dates of the tournament, otherwise
any hope of a global season will be futile. Southern Hemisphere countries have
already indicated they are willing to look at dates around the Rugby
Championship, but a move needs to have the backing of both hemispheres.
"We are working with World Rugby on some options,"
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said at a media briefing in Auckland.
"There's plenty of work being done. Are we closer to an
agreement? Probably not but at least the discussions are very current."
Like South Africa, New Zealand aren't willing to see the
current tours programme simply roll over in 2020.
"We don't believe the current system is
sustainable," he said. "Our players and the northern hemisphere
players won't sustain that and I think it's fair to say the French and English
clubs don't think it is sustainable either.
"We need a different season structure than the one we
have now and we are not going to default to the current one if we can't find
one. We're going to force that issue," he said.
Either way, for this to happen it will take some
horse-trading and give and take from both sides to see it become a reality.
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