Revealed: the revolutionary quick fix to save rugby

A triple-header Bledisloe Cup series in December is among the revolutionary ideas being modelled by rugby officials dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

While Rugby Australia is focused on the return to Super Rugby or a domestic tournament from July, officials at the Melbourne Rebels devised a three-tiered model dealing with local and foreign border restrictions for the remainder of 2020.

Given the radically increasing rates of coronavirus in South Africa, it seems unlikely Super Rugby will resume in July, if at all this year.

 

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Three back-to-back Bledisloe Cup games? It’s all being considered. Picture: AAP
Three back-to-back Bledisloe Cup games? It’s all being considered. Picture: AAP

The third proposal designed by Rebels officials in their spreadsheet, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, is the possibility of playing only New Zealand at the end of the year.

The idea would be to play the three-Test series against the All Blacks over three successive weekends, on December 5, 12 and 19.

It would be preceded by the five-team domestic competition involving the four Super franchises and Western Force, followed by the Possibles vs Probables Wallabies audition, and a potential State of Origin game.

There are also discussions around staging an All Stars rugby match similar to the NRL's for compelling content to satisfy broadcast demand and re-engage fans.

The triple-header Bledisloe idea is a hugely appealing prospect as speculation increases that the borders of Australia and New Zealand will be closed for an extended period, likely curtailing the scheduled opening two games in August.

How the rugby calendar could look for the rest of 2020.
How the rugby calendar could look for the rest of 2020.

The Bledisloe series has been truncated in recent years due to the packed The Rugby Championship series, meaning the third match is played months after the first.

If this proposal transpires, it would mean Aussie and Kiwi rugby fans can be transfixed on a series for three straight weeks without interruption.

One figure suggested that even if restrictions remained in place in December, the governments of either nation could make an exception for the rugby teams, have them fly on a chartered plane and be placed in quarantine for 14 days before playing out the series and sharing the much-needed revenue.

Brumbies Irae Simone scores a try during Round 1 of the Super Rugby season. Picture: AAP
Brumbies Irae Simone scores a try during Round 1 of the Super Rugby season. Picture: AAP

RA, meanwhile, is hoping they can stage any form of rugby in July due to their dire financial situation in which all of their reserves could be spent and there is no broadcast deal for next year.

The news comes as there was tentative movement on the pay-cut negotiations between RA and RUPA.

After assessing the financial documents given to them Sunday, RUPA responded to RA on Tuesday, seeking clarity on some issues while suggesting the players would be open to taking a cut between the executive team - who accepted a 30 per cent cut last week - and chief executive Raelene Castle who has taken a 50 per cent hit.

RA was penning a response to RUPA on Tuesday evening.

An agreement is not expected to be reached until the end of this week or early next week, with the Easter holidays throwing a potential delay in the matter.

Originally published as Revealed: the revolutionary quick fix to save rugby



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