World rugby eyes major Test overhaul
WORLD League rugby is coming. The logistics of an overarching framework for the world's top 12 Test nations to duel each year may confound a computer but a way will be found in the future.
SANZAAR chief executive Andy Marinos made a rare public appearance on Tuesday at the Super Rugby launch in Sydney to say the game-changer was an idea that had to be discussed from every angle.
"The narrative of this World League is really good to get more meaning in those June and November Tests which makes a lot of sense to fans, players, coaches and federations," Marinos said.
"The biggest challenge is how you integrate into existing season cycles where you have the Six Nations and The Rugby Championship.
"There's a fair way to go but we (SANZAAR) are open-minded to a format change to The Rugby Championship in the future."
The idea of the Sunwolves disappearing from Super Rugby but Japan rising in a remodelled Rugby Championship is one possibility with every ball seemingly in the air for rugby's more streamlined future.
Marinos shrewdly identified the biggest challenge of southern hemisphere rugby was keeping hold of the "young talent at 19-20" that hungry northern hemisphere raiders are eyeing off more and more.
The upside is that talents like Brisbane-bred centre Campbell Magnay are back in the system with the Melbourne Rebels after playing in Japanese rugby at 21.
Magnay made his return to training on Tuesday after an ankle reconstruction.
With a new SANZAAR deal due for 2021, RA chief executive Raelene Castle said the World League developments had to be considered as part of a broad picture, not in isolation.
"There is still information coming through and I think you need to consider the whole-of-rugby picture because the elements are not mutually exclusive," Castle said.
Having Quade Cooper join Will Genia at the Rebels where big backrow hope Isi Naisarani could be a major factor is a drawcard link-up for Super Rugby while the experience of Adam Ashley-Cooper and Karmichael Hunt has added to the back division of semi-finalists NSW.
"Super Rugby is a great focus leading into a World Cup year and I think we'll see improvements in all four Australians teams with the stability around the rosters and coaches," Castle said.
The Reds have a bye in the first round before their Super Rugby opener against the Highlanders in Dunedin on February 22 while the Brumbies-Rebels clash in Canberra on February 15 gets Aussie conference rivalries underway.
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