Meeting could change world rugby

A meeting in Los Angeles could have a large impact on the All Blacks' schedule in years to come....
A meeting in Los Angeles could have a large impact on the All Blacks' schedule in years to come. Photo: Getty Images
This could be a watershed week for world rugby.

A major overhaul will be considered by the top rugby nations in Los Angeles with some reports claiming a privateer is readying itself to take over the game.

One British newspaper described it as a "rugby revolution".

Proposals apparently include a more even distribution of money to help ease the financial pressure on New Zealand, Australian and South African rugby.

Reports are emerging that the World Rugby meeting will discuss a global knockout competition that leads to a World League final.

While details are sketchy, a north v south supremacy decider between the Six Nations and Rugby Championship winners is on the table.

A "leading pay per view broadcaster" is said to be behind the concept. The Daily Mail also believes a company such as Amazon, a TV rights agency or a private equity firm could be involved.

The Daily Mail reported a source as saying: "'The worry is someone is lining up a big deal to take the whole kit and caboodle.

"We don't know if it's a rights agency or a broadcaster, or a rights agency working with a broadcaster.

"What we are potentially looking at is someone buying international rugby, and taking it off free-to-air television. That would be a great shame but rugby is vulnerable to this kind of change."

The newspaper reported another source as saying: "This could change rugby as we know it.

"The annual autumn internationals would certainly become a thing of the past, and beyond the potential logistical nightmares, where does this leave the Rugby World Cup?"

New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew confirmed to Radio Sport that he would attend the meeting.

Tew expressed excitement over the potential development of the 12-team World League event, saying it is a way to increase much-needed revenue for NZ Rugby, as it struggles to keep up with the financial might of the north.

"I'm going to Los Angeles this weekend for the next World Rugby meetings to discuss that ... pretty exciting times.

"If we can make better use of the test matches we already play for – and the view of everybody who's done some sort of research into that area suggests we can by being more meaning to it – then we will," Tew said.

"We wanna look after our fans, we wanna look after our players, we wanna look after our competitive advantages, and we need to increase the revenue we've got. And all countries come to the table with similar expectations."

The Six Nations broadcasting contract is split between the BBC and ITV until 2021. ITV has the World Cup.

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