Australia wants to host the Rugby Championship

Jun 11, 2020

BY AAP/ABC

Rugby Australia (RA) wants to establish a quarantine hub to exclusively host the Rugby Championship if the tournament is staged following the sport's coronavirus shutdown.

Key points:

  • Rugby Australia is discussing the prospect of a quarantine hub with the Federal Government
  • A four-Test Bledisloe Cup series has also been proposed by Rugby Australia
  • New Wallabies coach Dave Rennie will not be required to take a pay cut

RA is in discussions with the Federal Government — as well as its SANZAAR partners, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina — with a view to holding a condensed version of the Rugby Championship this year.

Its interim chief executive, Rob Clarke, is also seeking to lock in an expanded four-Test Bledisloe Cup series with the All Blacks.

Clark said RA's top priority was to have matches played again in Australia as soon as possible, with a five-team domestic Super Rugby tournament set to begin next month, pending approval from broadcasters.

That competition would run into September, after which RA is looking at scheduling the Bledisloe Cup and the Rugby Championship, which was originally planned to start in August.

"They [could be] in a training bubble and then we can quarantine effectively and play a competition."

A Wallabies player pushes past an All Black preparing to pass the ball.

Rugby Australia wants to host two Bledisloe Cup matches.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

Clarke said a four-Test Bledisloe Cup series, with two matches played in Australia, would also boost RA's finances after it initially predicted a $120 million revenue hit if no further play was possible in 2020.

"It's a great product, gains a lot of attention and we feel at least a four-game series is something we can work into the calendar this year to work for them and us," he said.

Clarke also foreshadowed further cuts to follow Monday's announcement that a third of the beleaguered national body's full-time staff would lose their jobs over the coming months.

He said they were "prudent" moves to stabilise the code's finances as RA prepared for a domestic competition to return on July 3.

In regard to cost cutting, Clarke said every RA department had been reviewed, leading to 47 of the 142 full-time staff losing their jobs.

A further 30 contractors and casual employees will also have their roles terminated.

Dave Rennie wears a black suit with a black tie and white shirt

Dave Rennie will not be subject to a pay cut as Wallabies coach.(AAP/SNPA: David Rowland)

Clarke stressed the importance of safeguarding future funding for the Wallabies and confirmed new coach Dave Rennie would not be required to take a 5 per cent pay cut required of other senior staff members.

He said Rennie was exempt from taking a pay cut as he had not yet started the role, while the RA high-performance program would be "protected" to enhance the flagship team.

"A key part of our financial underpinning is a successful Wallabies," he said.

"It's not everything, but it's certainly key so we'll be protecting that as much as possible."

Clarke, who is also seeking to seal a new broadcasting deal for 2021 and beyond, said the domestic National Rugby Championship would not be played this year, given Australia's Super Rugby competition and Test matches took precedence in a revised calendar.

The post about “Australia wants to host the Rugby Championship" first appeared on the ABC Net website.

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