Friday, March 30, 2007

UAR vs NZRU: What’s the deal?

June 5, 2006

Two articles off the wires today with a whiff of those old rumours that won't go away vis-a-vie the 2011 RWC voting/horse-trading process.

1. Via Rugby Planet:

Argentina players' spokesman Mario Ledesma has accused the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) of selling out the Pumas.

The Clermont hooker recently helped broker a deal to keep Argentina's striking players on the field, but he has criticised the NZRU for a perceived failure to help the South Americans enter the Tri-Nations and Super 14 tournaments, insisting the forthcoming one-off friendly between the sides is a cheap option.

Minutes released by the Argentina Rugby Union (UAR) following September's bidding process for the rights to hold Rugby World Cup 2001 revealed that Argentina's vote went the way of New Zealand - the eventual winners - after a telephone call between the UAR's president-elect, Alejandro Risler, and NZRU president Jock Hobbs.

The minutes read: "Before the [final] voting process, [Risler] telephoned the president of the NZRU, Jock Hobbs, to tell him that Argentina would vote for New Zealand and not Japan and that the UAR needed to meet with them to discuss the possibility of having regular international competition in the southern hemisphere in the nearest future, having already obtained South African approval for Argentina's inclusion."

Although it was not made clear whether Hobbs agreed to Argentina's proposal, UAR representatives met with the NZRU in February to discuss the matter.

According to Ledesma, Argentina bosses left that meeting in Wellington with just one concrete deal - a one-off Test against the All Blacks in June.

To add to Argentine disappointment, it has been confirmed that the New Zealand side that will play in Buenos Aires will be without the likes of Dan Carter, Richie McCaw, Joe Rokocoko, Rodney So'oialo, Ma'a Nonu and Byron Kelleher.

"The game was only added to the fixture list because we voted for New Zealand to get the World Cup," Ledesma told New Zealand's Herald on Sunday newspaper.

"We were hoping, as a result of helping New Zealand, they would then help us, but that hasn't happened.

"We were hoping they would look at extending the Tri-Nations to include Argentina. If not, then add an Argentine team to the Super 14. But they haven't done anything.

"[They] see us as not having box office appeal for their competitions, but we need help to raise the profile of the game in Argentina."

But NZRU chief executive Chris Moller has declared that his union "did not make any agreement with any country in return for votes".

As for the meeting in Wellington, Moller said the NZRU had offered the UAR advice on how to improve its domestic competition and agreed for some of the specialists in the All Black camp to provide coaching later this month when New Zealand play Argentina in Buenos Aires.

"Argentina need to develop a viable domestic competition - all options will be open and up for consideration when we renegotiate," said Moller.

"The reality is that the majority of their players play in Europe. The Test window is in June but the Tri-Nations is played in July, August and September.

"Without wishing to sound disrespectful, that signalled a mismatch if put up against three of the world's best sides.

"If we did have a gentleman's agreement, it couldn't have been a very good one because Argentina didn't vote for us in the first round.

"I dealt with these accusations after we won the bid - we did not make any agreement with any country in return for votes."

Source: Rugby Planet

2. Meanwhile, via New Zealand Herald:

NZRFU masterstroke wins top PR award

Monday June 5, 2006

The New Zealand Rugby Union's bid to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup has won a the top public relations award.

The Public Relations Institute of New Zealand awards are designed to celebrate the best public relations campaigns in New Zealand and are open to all members of the institute.

The institute's national president and chief judge, Lisa Finucane, said that while the NZRFU entry was technically good, it was the nationwide impact that won it the supreme award.

"If one of the main achievements of a PR campaign is to influence a chosen stakeholder group, then this succeeded above all others. It was a focused stakeholder dialogue with a great outcome that impacts across New Zealand.

"Judges agreed that there were no second chances or opportunity to 'do it better next year', and only one outcome was acceptable. The development of, and adherence to, a sound communications strategy to achieve that outcome in the face of a doubting New Zealand and international media was the masterstroke."



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