July 10, 2020 / 2:15 AM / a month ago

RA chairman slams NZR over 'master-servant' approach

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Rugby Australia (RA) Chairman Hamish McLennan says their New Zealand counterparts are trying to dictate the terms of a possible trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, amid reports NZR are seeking to limit the number of Austrlian teams involved.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby World Cup - New Zealand Captain's Run - Tatsuminomori Seaside Park, Koto, Tokyo, Japan, October 25, 2019 - A view of boots and a rugby ball during New Zealand training. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

Super Rugby was halted in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the future of the southern hemisphere competition is currently being discussed.

Australia and New Zealand have each started their own domestic competitions involving their Super Rugby teams and while there is support for a trans-Tasman version details such as how many teams should be involved have yet to be ironed out.

“I love New Zealand and its people and we have strong cultural ties and a rich rugby heritage, but it feels a bit master-servant at the moment,” McLennan told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“If we’re building up to the World Cup and rebuilding Australian rugby we need the maximum amount of teams in the competition.”

Australia has fielded four teams in Super Rugby since 2018 but invited the Western Force, who were dumped from the competition after 2017, to join ‘Super Rugby AU’.

New Zealand’s ‘Super Rugby Aotearoa’ features all five of the country’s Super Rugby sides.

McLennan said RA wanted to include the Force in any new competition, making it at least 10 teams, while reports in New Zealand media have said NZR want just two or three Australian teams in a trans-Tasman tournament.

“From what I’ve heard, the Super Rugby clubs on both sides of the Tasman have been speaking and I hear they want a full blown trans-Tasman competition as well,” said McLennan.

“What we have is a much larger population of 25 million and a bigger economy and it would be very sad if New Zealand didn’t tap into that.”

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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