The Australian Rugby Union has called for a rescheduling of the in-bound Test series in the non-World Cup years to allow Super Rugby to run without a break.
The request has been canvassed by previous ARU regimes, but current ARU chief executive Bill Pulver tabled the request at a World Rugby meeting of national chief executives in Dublin two weeks ago.
Pulver said the ARU is “frustrated” that in non-World Cup years Super Rugby must stop for the in-bound Tests in June, only to resume in late June for the three last rounds and then the finals series that ends two weeks before the Rugby Championship kicks off in mid-August.
He said the ARU would like to see the Super Rugby played in full without a break and then followed with the international season made up of the in-bound Tests and Rugby Championship.
Pulver recognises, however, that he faces a challenge convincing his northern hemisphere peers who would be wary of such a rescheduling impacting on their national interests, and those of clubs in the Aviva Premiership and Top 14 competitions.
Nevertheless, Pulver, said he is determined to push ahead with his request, hoping that some proposed “options” he submitted at the Dublin meeting might prove convincing.
“From a southern hemisphere perspective, we are frustrated that the June in-bounds, force this big break in Super Rugby. We would love to change that,” Pulver said.
“In an ideal world you would have a Super Rugby season that starts in February and ends in the end of June, and then you would roll into your internationals …
“That is an item on the agenda. [But] change on the international match calendar is bloody hard.
“We have put a couple of options to them that we think could work – some that are quite exciting.
“I don’t want to talk about them just yet, but we have thrown a couple of options at them that we really think are worth looking at.”
Pulver said when Super Rugby is made to break, interest in the competition falls.
“There are two or three Super Rugby teams that are out of the ‘comp’ as soon as you get to that break, “Pulver said.
“Then you come back for two or three games after [the break and] their fans are gone.
“It’s a brutal impact on their season.”
Meanwhile, Pulver understands why the Australian Super Rugby teams would be reluctant to release any of their players who are keen to be selected for the Olympic Sevens team.
“The Super Rugby clubs are not going to have you in their team unless you play right through the finals [into early August],” Pulver said.
“And the Sevens coach won’t allow you to walk in two weeks before the event.”
Pulver says contractual negotiation between Super Rugby players who do want to be considered for selection in the Sevens squad and their clubs will be needed.
“I don’t think there will be many players involved,” Pulver said.
“[But] if Australian rugby was taking them to the Sevens event, I wouldn’t be expecting the Super rugby club to keep paying for them.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.