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
When the Wales squad were asked to nominate individuals who played a big part in their early playing days, Wales and Dragons full back and wing Hallam Amos thought of his former Monmouth School rugby coach John Bevan.
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.
The second WRU disability rugby pilot has been delivered, this time in Caerphilly schools, culminating in a festival at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach tomorrow. Plans are in place to set up a Disability Rugby Club in Newbridge to provide long-term playing opportunities.
WRU TV: Hear from inside the Wales camp as Neil Jenkins discusses this weekend's clash with South Africa and how the squad are looking to put in a strong performance to round of the 2016 Under Armour Series