Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie has urged Rugby Australia to remain within the Super Rugby structures.
Following reports last week that RA were looking to break away from New Zealand to form a domestic competition in a similar vein to the AFL and NRL.
RA Chairman Hamish McLennan informed his kiwi compatriot Stewart Mitchell that Australia were considering breaking away from the tournament at the conclusion of the current agreement in 2024.
Speaking to 1news.co.nz Rennie felt it was important for the development of his players that they continue to compete with the New Zealanders.
“I think it’s good for both countries that we play Trans-Tasman footy,” Rennie said.
“I think the competition has been excellent this year, and our sides have been more competitive. I think it’s good for them, it’s good for us. I’d like to see that continue.
“They’ve got some of the best players In the world. You want to be playing the best players. That’s how we will get better and be challenged, so it’s important.”
In contrast to this McLennan said he felt that a domestic competition in the build-up to 2027 could be just what Australian Rugby needed.
McLennan who is a highly successful businessman has been on the receiving end of Kiwi fury following the announcement of his plans.
Former All Black Great Mils Muliaina for one was not impressed.
“He’s the only one who thinks it’s going to happen. Even the Australian players [don’t]. We need each other.
“This competition has been so great and to hear stuff like that come out in the week of the final. That is just crap.”
His fellow panellist on the highly popular show “The Breakdown” was in full agreement calling it “The dumbest political decision they [Rugby Australia] could make.”
Host Jeff Wilson said he felt that history was instructive “I’ll give you an example. Australian netball is in the hole for $4m. They walked away from the trans-Tasman competition with New Zealand, and they have been worse off financially.
The effects of Australia leaving wouldn’t be limited to just Australia and New Zealand but also the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika sides who have just complete their first season.
“When you commit to something for a couple of years, you commit to the Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua sides…how do you think they feel right now Hamish? In regard to the fact, you’ve opened a door for them, and you’re thinking about, ‘We’re going to walk away from them now because it’s in the best interests of us, or we think it is?” Wilson said.
Wilson said he believed that the threat of leaving was merely a financial negotiation. “I think this is just a pure power play, in terms of trying to negotiate more funds for Australian rugby,” Wilson said.
For his part Rennie said he did understand where McLennan was coming from with New Zealand Rugby is believed to be collecting more than three times the amount of money from the broadcast deal than their Australian counterparts.
“I understand Hamish is an innovative thinker. From a commercial point of view, (Rugby Australia) want a bigger slice of the pie. So I understand his thinking,” Rennie said.