Monday, March 03, 2008

6N vs. 3N championship proposal stuffed

The IRB signals a red light to proposed Six Nations vs. Tri-Nations championship.

IRB says no to clash of champions

Marc Hinton
Rugby Heaven
March 3, 2008 - 1:28PM

The IRB has dumped a proposed match between the winner of the Tri-Nations and Six Nations competitions but will continue to look into the idea of a series linking the two hemispheres.

That was the upshot of a weekend meeting in Hong Kong featuring the International Rugby Board and chief executives representing the 10 tier-one national unions.

The meeting was emphatic that a mooted matchup between the champions north and south had no place on the crowded international calendar - albeit a schedule full of rather meaningless contests between the two hemispheres.

But in true IRB fashion, the gathering has decided to go away and undertake more work on a regular inter-hemipshere series that would, in theory, be played in two out of every four years of a World Cup cycle. The exceptions would be the years where there are Lions tours and when the global tournament takes place.

"There has been recent media speculation that the meeting would discuss the possibility of an annual playoff match between the winners of the Six Nations and the Tri-Nations," read an IRB media release.

"Although the meeting has no jurisdiction in this area, it did informally discuss the issue and concluded that the idea was not feasible and that the IRB and unions need not consider this matter any further."

So that's that then. Money doesn't talk after all, as an annual clash between the champs north and south would have been a license to print money, possibly played in Asia with television rights and gate revenue sure to have been massive.

But what clearly does interest the IRB, and the so-called "tier one" nations, is the prospect of finally doing something to legitamise the increasingly meaningless matches in June and November when leading nations from the two hemispheres play each other.

Thus the so-called "International Inter-Hemisphere Series" which the IRB breathlessly says it will spend more time studying, assessing and performing other scientific tests on.

Clearly some sort of action is being planned. Just not any time soon. Maybe in a year or two, maybe longer, but eventually a grand plan will be unveiled whereby these tiresome tests that take place at the end of each hemisphere's playing season at least have some sort of meaning.

Read the rest.




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