ERC Ltd and SANZAR, the governing bodies responsible for the management and development of the Heineken Cup and the Rugby Super 12 tournaments, have held further talks to discuss staging an annual challenge match between their two champions.
Following on from a meeting held in Johannesburg during the summer, delegates met again in Dublin this week ahead of the IRB Players' Welfare conference. Derek McGrath, Chief Executive of ERC, was joined by SANZAR representatives John O'Neill, Rian Oberholzer and Steve Tew, Chief Executives of the Australian, South African and New Zealand rugby unions respectively.
There is full support from both ERC and SANZAR to create such a fixture and make it an integral part of the rugby calendar. Both parties are determined such a prestige match will only become a reality when the right date can be found in the calendar to ensure both champions are able to field full strength teams and are given sufficient time to prepare for a major international occasion.
Having examined all relevant issues,including pressure on players, the 2003 Rugby World Cup and the current congestion in the international and domestic fixture lists, ERC and SANZAR agreed it is not possible at this time to find a suitable date to stage such a game.
"There is a common consensus amongst stakeholders, including clubs,sponsors, broadcasters, media and the fans, to create a meaningful challenge match between the champions of the Heineken Cup and the Rugby Super 12 tournaments," said Derek McGrath, chief executive of ERC.
"We believe that in order for this event to establish itself on the global
rugby calendar that it must start on a sound footing. For this reason both sides concluded that the time is not right at present.
"However, the fact we have widely debated all the issues involved in
arranging a fixture of this magnitude at our two meetings underlines our
joint commitment and we will continue to talk with our colleagues at SANZAR about the future of this event."
Rian Oberholzer, MD of SA Rugby and member of the SANZAR Board, added:
"Although we have been unable to find a suitable date for this match in the
short term, like ERC we are fully committed to the development of this
"We see it as an excellent shop window for the Super 12 product and believe
that the event will be fully embraced by the players and fans of our two
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.
The Wales U18 squad spent an emotional day in the drug-riddled townnship of Hout Bay. Hout Bay Warriors President Fred Johannes said the visit was 'the talk of the town' and will dream about the day everyday for the rest of his life.
RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.
A joint venture between the WRU and Admiral saw hundreds of children enjoy the Admiral Festival of Rugby held at the National Centre of Excellence at the weekend where Welsh internationals Sam Warburton, Scott Williams and Rob Evans were in attendance.
Wll Jones leads Wales U18s into battle this afternoon against Italy where the Welsh side will be seeking to bounce back from their narrow defeat to SA Schools in their opening clash of the U19 International Series
All four regions attended a successful training camp staged last weekend at the WRU National Centre of Excellence. It was a chance for new Wales Women's head coach Rowland Phillips to deliver his key messages to players and coaches as he prepares for the new season.
Wales U18 Team Manager Gethin Watts believes the next couple of weeks will be 'extremely beneficial' to the future of Welsh rugby as his side prepare to take part in the Under 19 International Series being staged in South Africa.
The WRU is searching for 12 new rugby development apprentices following a successful first year of its WRU Coach Core programme. Craig Duncan and Jess Hancock have flourished in the first year of the programme which has given them a real direction in their lives.
The WRU signed TV comedian Rhod Gilbert up to a 'Coaching Children Level 1' course before letting him loose on an U8s side at Whitland Junior Borderers - we went behind the scenes to film the making of 'Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience' see the results here.
Llandovery are aiming to make it three titles in a row in this year's Foster's National 7s being held at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday 28 August. Drovers assistant coach Simon Davies and Lee Rees assess their sides chances
A pioneering strength and conditioning programme has been delivered to more than 8000 boys and girls at hub schools throughout Wales this season, helping to develop stronger, more flexible athletes for rugby and other sports.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series returns to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on July 22nd when all four Welsh regions go head to head. Scarlets skills coach Dai Flanagan and Blues Elite Performance Pathway Manager Richard Hodges along with current Welsh squad members were at the launch of this season's event