KSA Shark ©

IRB want Tour De Force

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :All Blacks, In the news, Wallabies on 12 Nov 2008 at 10:26
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The International Rugby Board last night agreed to investigate a return to traditional touring as a way of addressing concerns over the value of June tours to the southern hemisphere.

PA Sport’s Alex Lowe writes that Australia and New Zealand recently warned they would be prepared to scrap future European tours in protest at having to host under-strength touring teams.

France have sent shadow squads to Australia and New Zealand over the past two summers because their domestic club competition has not finished until the end of June.

England selected their strongest possible squad for the trip to New Zealand but they were still missing a large number of front-line players, who were in various stages of rehab.

Neither Test was sold out. Both Australia and New Zealand are angry that ticket sales and revenues are hit by below-strength touring teams.

The issue was high on the agenda at Tuesday’s meeting at Heathrow of the 10 tier one nations.

It was agreed that a return to traditional tours – with midweek matches played in between Tests – would be the “best way to enhance meaning and value for the problematic June window”.

The meeting also agreed to conclude discussions about the integration of Argentina into the Tri-Nations “as a matter of urgency”.

The IRB will also explore the possibility of setting up a tournament or series of matches in a Lions year involving teams not involved in the tour.

For example, next summer that would include Argentina, France, Australia and New Zealand.

IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The meeting in Heathrow was both constructive and extremely positive and all the delegates demonstrated a clear collective willingness to work together to consider meaningful solutions.

“Building on the outcomes of the historic Global Season Forum at Woking last year, the group asked the IRB to work on three specific opportunities in detail – tours to the South in the June window; the creation of a tournament or a series of matches in a Lions year for unions not involved in the Lions tour and Argentina’s full integration into the Tri Nations.”

Lapasset went on to outline the complexities involved in creating a global playing calendar, from the often different requirements of clubs and unions to player welfare issues and time zone issues.

“It is incredibly complex,” he said.

“Finding solutions that allow for growth, a balanced schedule and the promotion of meaningful matches has been a challenge.”

The IRB confirmed work on all three issues would begin immediately and will be discussed at upcoming executive committee and council meetings.


  • The meeting also agreed to conclude discussions about the integration of Argentina into the Tri-Nations “as a matter of urgency”.

    Great stuff for these guys. Would be keen to see it implemented.

  • Comment 1, posted at 12.11.08 10:30:31 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Let the Argies base themselves in Sa and then make the Aussies and Kiwi’s stay in Sa for 5 weeks at a time while they play us and the Argies.

    Should level the playing fields a bit on the travelside of things.

  • Comment 2, posted at 12.11.08 10:31:43 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • The 10 Tier 1 Unions are:
    New Zealand,
    South Africa,

  • Comment 3, posted at 12.11.08 10:40:30 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • I can’t see them going back to tours. Too time consuming.

  • Comment 4, posted at 12.11.08 10:47:28 by McLovin Reply
  • Excellent, enough of this once off all pressure dogey….

    The midweek games were great.

  • Comment 5, posted at 12.11.08 12:22:08 by Worcestershire Sauce Reply
    Worcestershire Sauce
  • @Worcestershire Sauce (Comment 5) :

    Midweek games also build up the tour hype.

    I would pay to watch the Poms play the Sharks but probably not to watch them play the Boks.

  • Comment 6, posted at 12.11.08 12:26:22 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 6) : yeah… I loved that stuff. Also watching the Boks play against provincial teams was awesome.

    I mean, why are Earl Rose, Odwa, Jongi, Brussow, Chilli, Pakslae and all the rest actually on tour? They’ll never play…

  • Comment 7, posted at 12.11.08 12:37:41 by robdylan Reply

    By Emma Stoney, PA Sport

    Argentina’s inclusion in an expanded Tri-Nations is unlikely to happen before 2012, according to New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew.

    At a meeting in London, the International Rugby Board’s tier one nations – unions that make up the Six Nations, Tri-Nations and Argentina – agreed Argentina’s integration into the competition, which currently involves Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, was a priority.

    The idea of including Argentina in the Tri-Nations fold has been mooted for a while but calls for it to happen intensified following the Pumas’ third-placed finish at the 2007 World Cup in France.

    While Tew welcomed the latest discussions, he warned there would be no significant change in the short-term.

    “Nothing would happen before 2012 because they need that much time to get their house in order,” he told Radio Sport. “That’s the date they’ve told us would be the most likely.

    “The reality is that logic says they would fit nicely into the Tri-Nations, other than the cost and the logistics, so we really need everyone to commit to the fact that some funding would be available, probably from the IRB coffers, to assist that process.

    “It’s really a world rugby issue and everybody effectively agreed Argentina was a priority and that they needed them in the Tri-Nations from 2012 onwards and if that requires the IRB to spend some of world rugby’s money to help that happen then so be it. That means they (Argentina) can go away and start planning it in a bit more detail.”

    Tew also conceded the meeting finally put to bed the chance of moving the June international window, something New Zealand had been keen to see happen.

    “There is no doubt from listening to the northern hemisphere unions that they are not prepared to move the June window,” he added.

    “There is no easy solution to that time period so we might as well stop kidding ourselves and get on and find a different answer.”

    The June Tests have been a source of frustration in recent years for the southern hemisphere sides who have been angered by their northern hemisphere counterparts bringing under-strength teams. One option raised at Tuesday’s meeting was longer tours that include midweek games.

    “I don’t think we should jump to the conclusion that we will have England come down here and play the All Blacks, Canterbury, the All Blacks, Wellington, the All Blacks and Otago and then the All Blacks again. I think that’s a bit optimistic,” Tew added.

    “But certainly put midweek games into the mix as we work on the detail. The key thing will be that they come for a period of time. They will come for more than one game. It will be a series that has a winner and that gives it much more meaning.”

    Tew, however, revealed the New Zealand Rugby Union would be prepared to play hardball if weakened teams continued to brought south in June.

    “Our fallback option is to go to a completely deregulated environment where we simply don’t have a schedule and every country is able to negotiate tours they want,” he said.

    “We will simply say ‘if you’re not going to come down here and play ball with us, we ain’t going north’.”

  • Comment 8, posted at 13.11.08 11:50:45 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Will be great to have tours. Think thats one thing the modern game have missed completely. Not only for the players but also the locals mixing with the players.

  • Comment 9, posted at 13.11.08 14:21:26 by PaarlBok Reply

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