3 Jul 2016

Global rugby season sorted by next year?

7:53 am on 3 July 2016

A global rugby season could be created by the end of the year.

The All Blacks celebrate Beauden Barrett's 2nd try.

The All Blacks celebrate scoring a try. Photo: Photosport

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew has been in ongoing discussions with his northern hemisphere counterparts about how the global season might look.

While it wouldn't be implemented until after the 2019 World Cup in Japan, Tew is hopeful the finer details of the global season will be finalised sometime in the next five months.

"We are in active discussions with our northern colleagues and we've sent some revised thinking up to them this week and I've got a phone hook-up if not next week then the week after," Tew said.

"We have another series of meetings around the World Rugby committees in September, so that will be an opportunity to bring some of this to a head face-to-face and I'd like to think we'd get through this piece of work at some stage this year, but I can't guarantee it."

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen reiterated his desire for a global season following the Test series sweep over Wales, Hansen labelling the current situation "ridiculous".

The Welsh squad flew home having played a 54-week season, while the All Blacks loose forward Liam Squire was on a plane to South Africa with the Highlanders just hours after the third and final Test in Dunedin.

What the final shape of that global season looks like is anyone's guess, though the Super Rugby break looks set to continue.

SANZAAR are understandably unwilling to remove their top players from the competition for a month due to the obvious effects that would have on the quality of games and the value of the competition to broadcasters.

However New Zealand Rugby won't shy away from using their All Blacks trump card if the negotiations don't go their way.

Tew says if NZR aren't happy with the final structure of the global season they'll use the fact the All Blacks are the sport's biggest drawcard (and most successful team) as leverage, though he's confident they won't have to, saying that a breakdown in negotiations would damage the game.

"The north (Northern Hemisphere sides) can't do without the south (Southern Hemisphere sides) at the international level and the south can't do without the north either so we really don't want to have to take the negotiations to a point where we have to call that card," Tew said.

"But we're reasonably confident that if we can't get an agreement that's satisfactory, and there will be a compromise, but if we can't get a compromise that we're comfortable with then we'll certainly talk about playing amongst our Southern hemisphere colleagues a bit more and we might go and negotiate one or two Test matches on the side, (if that were to happen) there will be very different financial arrangements than the one we have now.

"Ultimately there would be no window for a Lions (British and Irish Lions) tour or a World Cup. No-one wants that kind of chaos and I'm 99 percent sure we won't get to that point."