Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan doubled down on comments that his organization could drop Super Rugby, saying it was a 50/50 call and also describing New Zealand’s response as “hilarious”.

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McLennan made a splash last Thursday when he said “all bets are off” when it comes to the future of Super Rugby Pacific beyond next year, insisting that Australia needs to rethink its future in competition in search of the best outcome for the championship. game at home.

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The comments drew strong reactions from both sides of the Tasman, with support and condemnation coming in mostly equal measure, with claims that it was nothing more than money making, which was popular discourse in New Zealand.

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Speaking from France, McLennan acknowledged this but said he did not want to apologize for making the process public, which simply comes from the interests of Australian rugby.

“It was quite controversial but really for the Australian rugby board and our key stakeholders we all felt it was the right time to reconsider our position because we had won the World Cup in Australia in 27 and we needed to look what’s right for us,” McLennan told radio station SEN.

“So it should just be noted that initially we wanted a longer-term agreement with [NZR] at Super Rugby it only took them two years and as the wheel turns we kind of looked at our position and decided now is the time to reevaluate it because we are looking at a potential private equity deal.

“And in Australia, if you look at the AFL and NRL, they operate as domestic competitions, so if we repeat what they do, we will have more players playing in Australian competitions, who will eventually probably have higher rating. So in any case, we look at our position and make sure that we make the right decision in the future.”

While Australian rugby operates in an ecosystem significantly different from the long-established AFL and NRL competitions, McLennan’s comments on keeping players in Australia are timely given Guy Porter’s choice for England’s Eddie Jones, who arrived in Perth on Wednesday.

Porter and his Australian Harry Potter were part of the Leicester side that won the English Premier League at Twickenham on Saturday, the former University of Sydney duo heading overseas in search of greater professional opportunities.

McLennan also pointed to significantly higher Super Rugby AU ratings in 2021 – more than 400,000 people watched the final between the Reds and Brumbies at Nine Gem and more than 40,000 fans flocked to Suncorp Stadium – compared to Super Rugby Pacific ratings this year. year as the reason why the RA has only been investigating domestic competition since 2024.

But that appears to go against the wishes of Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, who on Monday reaffirmed his desire to continue with the trans-Tasman game, and McLennan also acknowledged the high performance that regular matches against New Zealand provided.

“It’s really a 50/50 choice, we need to look at the money, the ratings, we’ll sit down with our broadcast partner and then we’ll make a decision,” McLennan said. “But if we only go out to local, domestic competitions, a lot of people say we will be in a position where we can create more top tier clubs and get more people playing the game compared to New Zealand which we have alone of the best players in the world. So when we do trans-Tasman there is obviously a high performance, but often you see our ratings drop when that happens.

“So we need to look at all the issues and evaluate what is right for us and also for the financial investment. So the aspect of this is that if everything is local, then we keep everything so that we have more players in wider competition. it will be better compared to kiwi, where the ratings will obviously be lower, but you are facing the best players in the world week after week.

“We just need time to evaluate what’s right for rugby in Australia.”

McLennan said the RA rugby committee, made up of chief executive Andy Marinos and former wallabies Daniel Herbert and Phil Waugh, was working through the details of what a domestic-only competition could look like, and that it could even include an international dimension through Fijian or Japanese teams.

However, for this to be viable, the RA chairman said it would need to be expanded from five Super Rugby AU 2020/2021 teams to at least eight teams and possibly 10.

Also currently under consideration is private equity, where RA has fans like in Silver Lake who recently raised $[AU]181 million NZR and CVC deals invested in the Six Nations and United Rugby Championship.

As for the criticism coming from New Zealand which included former All Blacks Jeff Wilson, John Kirwan and Mils Muliaina on Sky Sport. breakdown McLennan said the hypocrisy was “hilarious.”

“I survived a lot of heat because of it, but at the end of the day, it’s water from a duck’s back, it doesn’t bother me,” McLennan said. “New Zealand has done what was right for them for years and years and years. And don’t forget that these were the guys who told us just two years ago, “We’re going to create a competition and you can only have two teams.” which would destroy our game.

“So we’re actually taking a step back by saying ‘Rugby Australia should be doing what’s right for this’; it’s interesting as the wheels have turned and we’re playing better, we’ve got the world championship, can’t leave us, you have to play with us” and they really don’t like the fact that we’re fighting back. In many cases it’s really quite fun, because they made life so difficult for us two years ago.

“And all we’re doing is saying, ‘Ahead of the World Cup, we want to see what’s right for us’ and actually more than that, because we’re in for the golden decade of rugby. And we know that the AFL and NRL only work in the domestic market, and they do it very well, and the level of football is simply excellent. be really good.

“And just remember that at test level you only need 15 guys in the paddock at any given time. So if we have extended [domestic] competition that works locally, we are confident that with our high performance structures that we are implementing, we can make them work.”