IRB not bowing to NZ pressure

2011-10-04 15:22

Auckland - New Zealand players and coaches poured scorn on an International Rugby Board (IRB) warning on Tuesday that future Rugby World Cup tournaments could go ahead without them.

It was inconceivable the sport's showpiece tournament could take place without any of the top sides, members of the squad said.

A row over the future involvement of the All Blacks, arguably rugby union's best-known international team and one of its most successful, started last week when New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) chief executive Steve Tew said pulling the top-ranked team from the next World Cup could not be ruled out.

Tew said his organisation lost money every time the quadrennial tournament was staged and received the backing of neighbours Australia.

He added competing at the current World Cup in New Zealand was costing the NZRU more than $10.3 million, casting a shadow over their participation in four years' time.

But IRB boss Mike Miller said while it would be good to have the All Blacks in England in 2015, "everyone is replaceable."

It was a statement that stunned members of the New Zealand team who are preparing to play their quarter-final match in the ongoing tournament against Argentina in Auckland this coming Sunday.

"You can't have a World Cup without the All Blacks, without any of the top nations. They've all got to be there just to make it a legit World Cup," wing Richard Kahui told reporters.

Assistant coach Wayne Smith also rejected Miller's comments, saying the New Zealand public would not stand for it.

"You've just got to see what rugby means in this country to think of it as inconceivable," he said.

"But I haven't thought a lot about it. I'm focusing on Argentina. They're a big enough test for me."

Tew said the bulk of the New Zealand rugby's shortfall came from lost revenue because the annual Tri-Nations competition was shortened in World Cup years so it did not clash with the tournament.

But Miller said that was not an IRB directive, but rather a decision taken by the Tri-Nations countries South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

He added that Tew was on the IRB Council, had been involved in the decision making for several years and knew the economics of the World Cup were to be re-examined after this tournament.

Tew's words were widely interpreted as a starting point for future talks with the IRB, with few believing the NZRU would disappoint their rugby-mad home public, and their players, by pulling out of the World Cup.

"It'd be devastating for our country and our rugby players here as well," All Black hooker Keven Mealamu said last week.


  • Punter - 2011-10-04 15:32

    at least they would have an excuse why they didn't win it AGAIN - CHOKERS

      Tolerant - 2011-10-04 16:13

      I agree, they are setting themselves up for another loss.

      Louis - 2011-10-05 08:18

      what do you call 22 guys watchung the IRB world cup final the All Blacks

  • BigR - 2011-10-04 15:36

    "You can't have a World Cup without the All Blacks, without any of the top nations. They've all got to be there just to make it a legit World Cup," wing Richard Kahui told other words 1987 and 1991's champions weren't legit...means the All Blacks doesn't have one legit World Cup triumph!

      ray - 2011-10-04 15:47

      Exactly what I was going to say!

      karsten.kaminski - 2011-10-04 15:50

      Lol, you beat me to it.

      Nicky - 2011-10-04 16:58

      If the AB's aren't in the WC they will be good for a while, but as the external factors such as a loss of players to WC competing countries like European countries, loss of a major goals, etc they will start to deteriorate.

      Nicky - 2011-10-04 17:03

      And if you ask the AB's if the WC they did win should not count as a real WC because the Springboks did not compete what do you think they will say?

      Neutkraker - 2011-10-05 20:14

      To be fair, the All Blacks said so themselves after the first WC, bacause SA was not present.

  • laties - 2011-10-04 15:38

    I'm sure RWC can go ahead without NZ, or any top side. RWC can then have nice bonfires with all the unsold tickets.

  • King Solomon - 2011-10-04 15:46

    Didn't NZ go into this with their eyes wide open? They knew what the costs would be so why are they bitching about it only now?

      Grant - 2011-10-04 15:54

      They are actually trying to rectify it for in 4 years time! They are talking about the 2015 World Cup. I for one agree with them. All the IRB really needs to do is allow each team to retain its own sponsorships during the RWC. Why should the IRB make ALL the money? FIFA has become bigger than soccer - we cant allow the IRB to do the same thing with rugby. NZ are only demanding what is fair, and I believe that most top teams will follow suit. Nobody likes a dictator.

  • Gecko14 - 2011-10-04 15:46

    One of the top teams were not there in 1987 when NZ won their onl World Cup, yes, SA. They did not complain then. And the RWC '87 and '91 were not seen as desasters. So, hell yeah, nobody is irreplacible!!!

  • Ben B - 2011-10-04 15:46

    So they now admit that 1987 and 1991 were not ligit?

      Mafaka - 2011-10-04 16:49

      Exactly, so that basically means that NZ has never won a RWC and Australia only won one so far...

  • Slimjan49 - 2011-10-04 15:47

    So they won an illegitimate world cup!!!! Must be they did it without SA.

  • Bill - 2011-10-04 16:03

    Storm in a teacup as NZ are pitching for a bigger share of the RWC TV rights and other income. I support them 100% after SA got bamboozled and bevonked by the Soccer WC and FIFA last year.

      Razz-ma-Tazz - 2011-10-04 16:29

      @Bill. You are the ONLY wise guy on this web reading the story between the lines. ALL the other idiots have no understanding for their posision. In fact a WC will NEVER be the same without NZ featuring.

  • cj - 2011-10-04 16:05

    They are right though. A world cup without the All Blacks would hardly be worth the effort. They have been the dominant force in rugby for decades now.

      gc - 2011-10-04 16:13

      So dominant... except for the fact that theyhav'nt won the damn thing with everyone present.

      Travis - 2011-10-04 16:33

      Whether they have won or not is not exactly the point, is it. NZ is the top ranked team in the world, and it would be really sad to have a RWC without them. They have been devastated by the recession, and taken a huge financial pounding with the earthquake, so I understand where they are coming from. It is not unfair to expect the hosting nation to at least be able to break-even from a tournament of this magnitude!

      Peter - 2011-10-04 17:47

      @cj, it is true that a world cup without the all blacks would be a terrible loss, but it would be even more ridiculous of them to think that the cup revolves around them and their participation.

      RandomDude - 2011-10-04 20:02

      Travis , no one forced them to put in the bid to host the WC , they did that all on their own because they wanted home ground advantage. I

  • JohnyBlue - 2011-10-04 16:11

    Ok if it is inconceivable to have a world cup without any of the top teams we should declare the 1987 and 1991 results nul and void - South Africa did not play. NZ are a bunch of chokers they won't be missed, because they have not been real contenders in more than 2 decades. Get over yourselfs

  • waratawu - 2011-10-04 16:16

    So right IRB, the Blacks think they are the prima donnas of rugby. Let them hold their own World Cup cose they seems to forget they still need your money

  • Lida - 2011-10-04 16:21

    He what happened to JohnnyBB now.????? Why do they have to say this while the RWC is still on. Is it tactics or what? I do not see any sense in the excuses he is making. What a fart.

      Darren - 2011-10-04 20:37

      He's standing in line with Maori collecting his dole cheque

  • colin.dovey - 2011-10-04 16:23

    Tew in a Stew

  • chez - 2011-10-04 16:34

    don't let the door hit you on the ar$e on the way out boys! you don't get anywhere in the tournament anyway.

  • Sage - 2011-10-04 16:36

    Did you hear it; sounds like someone's predictable, it's not even funny.

  • jacy - 2011-10-04 16:43

    Come on NZ, don't pitch for the next RWC, we dare you!

  • jerhone - 2011-10-04 16:43

    but why bid for the world cup if you sheepshagers can't afford it, leave it to the richer countries, and you lot think you are smarter than us jaapies?

      maycenz - 2011-10-05 06:40

      jerhone you just showed how dumb you are. None of this is about hosting. It is about participating moron.

  • d54 - 2011-10-04 16:57

    There is an old saying that says if you want to know how irreplacable you are just put your hand in a bucket of water then take it out and see the hole you left behind. Nobody is irreplaceable. Just look at all the "stars" in sport, when they are gone the games go on with new "stars".

  • shabs h - 2011-10-04 17:21

    Just Get Mr. Blatter to head the IRB, then you wont have any complaints about the world cup making a profit and unions not making money, he knows how to make it profitable. Just see why the countries vote for him, he gives the soccer associations plenty, and how, by selling the beautiful game to sponsors and broadcasters.

  • shabs h - 2011-10-04 17:25

    Its all abt money. Just get Mr. Blatter to run the rugby world cup and everyone will be happy making money. he will sell the rights to sponsors and broadcasters and give the unions handsome returns for their next vote for him.......

  • rob barrie - 2011-10-04 17:26

    absolute farts with no brains or skills. the time has come to replace them with people that progress the game

  • dominique.thom - 2011-10-04 17:39

    Let them pull out! they think to much of themselves anyways! the rwc started without us, and no one cried. so no all blacks makes things better for everyone else we do NOT need to have them!

  • John - 2011-10-04 17:50

    Who cares !! press on AB's Tiger woods thought the same thing with golf . We don't miss him and we wont miss you !!

  • Worldchamp - 2011-10-04 17:57

    NZ got to think about this world cup before the next one. One step at a time. I wont be surprise if they dont make the semi's, seems like they loosing the battke already

  • - 2011-10-04 17:59

    So, let me get this straight. NZ threaten to withdraw from future WCs. IRB says, fine - we don't *really* need you, then NZ bitches about it? #FACEPALM

  • theprodigy - 2011-10-04 18:35

    BWWWWAAAAAAHHAHAHA, OMG this it funny, the arrogance of the All Blacks, the think they are so good that they can threaten the IRB, DURING THE WORL CUP (nogal), I mean the audacity....well the soon to be no 2 team in the world won't be missed at the next WC, the IRB called their bluff & now they are shaking in their boots....@ spineless traitors (Maori et al), still time to come crawling back, before your adopted team is kicked out of the WC, hahahahahahhohooooooheeee, this was the funniest thing I heard all week.

  • Andrew Smith - 2011-10-04 18:46

    There were 2 Rugby World Cups without South Africa, albeit for legitimate reasons, the world cups went ahead and NZ and Australia claimed World Cup titles. As a South African, I say those two world cups did not count as you cant have a Rugby World Cup without the best teams involved. It’s like not having Brazil at the Football World Cup. NZ has to be there.

  • Dohne - 2011-10-04 18:55

    Quote.. "You can't have a World Cup without the All Blacks, without any of the top nations. They've all got to be there just to make it a legit World Cup," wing Richard Kahui told reporters. Ok.. so i have a question.. Whatd does that say about the 1987 RWC. A tournament won by NZ. A tournament not comepeted by SA.. You may as well have just pulled the gun out and shot your foot off! Beautifull...... !!!!! HAHA.. NZ just love stepping in it..

  • Bill - 2011-10-04 19:32

    Fact is AB's have not really won a legit RWC. Should they win this time they will change there tune, however I believe they are allready preparing their chirps for when they choke AGAIN. Viva Bokke - I believe we can make it despite it being a tough trip to the final whistle.

  • The Kaapman - 2011-10-04 20:12

    The iRB should pump more money into USA and Argentina where there is a strong growth in Rugby as an alternative way to make money. USA has sufficeint population to be good at rugby. More international tournaments need to be played in NY, LA and Chicago where USA Grid Iron is popular. Not all USA students can get in a USA grid iron team and the prospect of fast quarter backs and the like joining rugby will ensure a growth in revenue for IRB. SA will continue to be profitable with SS being a major purchaser of TV rights in SANZAR. SA should not follow it's friends in trying to protect the sport by enforcing that NZ and Aus are irreplaceable. Would England or Brazil missing the Fifa World cup be a major loss yes it would, however we know they always have to qualify and I think Rugby should force all teams to qualify. No guarantee placements etc. Only host and the current world cup holders should qualify. 5 Qualify pools possibly of 6 teams each with irb rankings spreading the teams across the qualifying pools. Top 4 teams in each pool qualify.

  • Marli - 2011-10-04 20:15

    "You can't have a World Cup without the All Blacks, without any of the top nations. They've all got to be there just to make it a legit World Cup," wing Richard Kahui told reporters. Richard I presume you were not even born when the Springboks were excluded from the world cup and nobody missed them. We will not miss the ABs.

  • Barry Edwards - 2011-10-04 20:59

    You can have a RWC without the AB. Take Golf for example. Tiger has not played for ages and the game is probably more popular now with new stars. There is an additional benefit to have the whinging NZ national out of the game. They worse than England when it comes to complaining. Probably why Richie Mc Cheat is still playing. No other country would have the dirtiest player in World Rugby as captain. He is untouchable because of the NZ backlash.

  • pistolpete - 2011-10-04 21:19

    Maori is quiet. I think they cut his internet due to non payment. Good stuff!

      Mason - 2011-10-05 07:51

      HAHAHAHA...if Maori had a half a brain cell more he would be a plant!

  • Leo - 2011-10-04 22:08

    1987 the world cup was played with out one of the top nations - Springboks , So All Blacks can not claim that they were the best team at the first world cup

  • iKudu - 2011-10-04 22:18

    The fact is that NZ is the #1 team in the world. In over a hundred years of rugby, the All Blacks hold an 84% winning record against all opposition played. Against the top nations they hold the following win rate: Eng 79%, France 74%, Aus 68%, SA 56%

      Raymond - 2011-10-05 00:49

      There you go ~ SA 56% and we had handicaps (Strauli and deVilliers)

      Mickey Fin - 2011-10-05 03:15

      Just to help you with some stats. Prior to the Professional era, the home team normally won the test series as they had their own countries ref's blowing. Since the start of the professional era and neutral ref's, the winning percentage for the All Blacks to beat the Springboks is 70%

  • Margie - 2011-10-04 22:20

    When South Africa, were shunned in the first two RWCS',because of apartheid, the rest of the world did not need one of the best rugby playing nations around.If the All Blacks pull out of 2015, who cares

  • Jack Turner - 2011-10-04 22:37

    Why do we ( The Free Rugby World) always have to buckle to the Might ( Joking) of the Fuc#*^ British, who by the grace of God are still on this planet, because Hitler was too bloody stupid to finish off the Pricks. Too hell with the British, and everything they stand for. SANZAR dosn't need them ( IRB). Nor do the All Blacks.

  • Robschele - 2011-10-04 23:02

    I cannot understand this. Is NZ now angry because the IRB said they can have a WC without the ABs. I am sure I read a few days ago that the All Blacks want to withdraw from the WC. Did I dream that.

  • malput - 2011-10-04 23:39

    funny how they slated louie luyt ,now they are saying the same thing(ab's)

  • Raymond - 2011-10-05 00:13

    NZRU are arrogant pricks! While I agree with their sentiment with respect to funding and that IRB should never be allowed to emulate the FIFA Mafiosa; to think that NZRU is bigger than all the other members is just arrogance personified. The RWC without NZ will still be the RWC. They do not make the tournament, all the competing nations do. If NZRU want to change the RWC fiscal policies, they should do so by convincing the other member countries to put collective pressure on the IRB. NZRU blackmail attempts must not be allowed to prevail otherwise we will next have all other memebers trying to blackmail there way into achieving there own goals. When next you look, RWC will be a foornote in some little read history book.

  • Bloukudu - 2011-10-05 01:23

    Where are the three clowns now? Chief Kok, Maori and JohnnyBB are rather conspicuous by their absence. Forming a three fern circus perhaps?

  • Bokmad - 2011-10-05 01:29

    Ipersonally would not like the ABs excluded from any WC. Simple fact is that the glory of any team winning the WC without AB participation, will be dilluted and it will always be stated that the AB's were not there, so it was not a real WC. Much the same way that I feel that the exclusion of the Boks in 87 and 91 diluted the importance of those years in terms of WC history.

  • maycenz - 2011-10-05 06:46

    I personally can not wait till i see SARU come out with some similar comments about the current economic model of the IRB and then clearly you will all condemn SARU straight away right? Tew just stated that the All Blacks would struggle to afford it with the current model. Not exactly the most measured way of bringing up a topic but still potentially valid.

      maycenz - 2011-10-05 21:33

      So is everyone going to apologise now that SARU has come out and backed NZ?

  • Trueblackkiw - 2011-10-05 07:02

    Wow, lots of comments here and no one actually read the initial article. Tew never said the AB's would boycott the cup, he said the NZ RU couldn't afford to send them!! Big difference there. Also, no one seems to have noted that the ARU has basically said the same thing. I'm sure with their larger domestic audience SARU can survive, but NZ just don't have the population. So we're hardly being arrogant, more upfront about our finances.

  • Coskorea - 2011-10-05 07:34

    Ok, I'm going to take flack for this one, but here­ goes. I do not have intimate knowledge of the workings­ of the financial model of the world cup, so can't­ argue for or against either party, but after reading­ Wayne Smiths comments in the article above; ("The­ All Blacks team, however, said they felt any World Cup­ without them in it would lack­ legitimacy. "You've just got to see what rugby­ means in this country to think of it as­ inconceivable," All Blacks assistant coach Wayne­ Smith said."), I could only laugh and think back­ to when someone else mentioned something similar, and­ how the All Blacks responded on that day! At one­ infamous post World Cup final dinner, a certain­ character (the dishonourable Louis Luyt) who had the­ tact of a donkey in a field, proclaimed "There­ were no true world champions in the 1987 and 1991 World­ Cups because South Africa were not there. We have­ proved our point." The All Black team justifiably­ marched out of event. Funny thing isn't it. So­ would Wayne Smith be saying something similar if the­ All Blacks were to miss out on future World Cups? Its­ not like they have dominated the event over the years,­ the Springboks are statistically the best team when it­ comes to World Cups, with a 2 titles out of four­ attempts. I know the situations are very different,­ buthey.

  • Mason - 2011-10-05 07:46

    The Aussies and Kiwi's were trying to dictate a few years ago how SA should run the domestic competition or threatening to form their own unions with Japan etc...They could not do without the revenue and the stronger cometition, SA should have gone on their own with Argentina and the Sates...Stop bitching!! SA were not at the first 2 world cups!! Come Dimwit Kahui!! NZ have always bitched about things now that they are going to be broke...cry me a river!! They also used to bitch at how we played our rugby when we were kicking a bit of ass...again we changed for those twats!! Kick the F(*&s under the ass!! They might just stop with poaching of island players!

  • Patrick - 2011-10-05 08:05

    They had it twice without SA ! AB`s lose the ego and threats and learn to negotiate, you are not the be all and end all of rugby.

  • Makatees - 2011-10-05 08:13

    In Richard Kahui,s words the 1987 Worlcup was not Legit because the Springboks were not allowed to play,thanks for clearing that up matey

  • Pietie007 - 2011-10-05 09:23

    People, the IRB and All Blacks are very clever! They`re giving the illusion that they aren`t the best of friends to draw the attention away from the fact that they are working together to give the All Blacks the WC. The IRB use the All Blacks (purely because they are a brand name) to promote the game, but how can they if they haven`t won the WC for 24 years? And they are getting a lot of help from a guy called Patty O'Brien who uses certain refs to guarantee a result. Watch the press for details, an Irish ref wil blow the All Black semi-final (perhaps final as well)!!

      Trueblackkiw - 2011-10-05 12:04

      Refs are selected by Tappe Henne, a South African sorry dude.

  • Good Advice - 2011-10-05 13:27

    Hahaha... Their arrogance has bitten them in the backside! Didn't they do their homework before hand? How the hell did they budget??? You wanted the WC. Don't come cry now. At least have some dignity.

      maycenz - 2011-10-05 21:13

      My word it would be great if the people on this site could read. Lost count of the ppl who just don't get it. It is nothing to do with hosting. The NZ govt and auckland city council is taking the majority of any loss incurred for hosting. This article is about the cost of participating!!