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
Angus O'Brien has quickly settled into the Wales Sevens squad after solid performances in Hong Kong and Japan. With two rounds remaining in Glasgow and Twickenham on the World Series, WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie chats to the rising star.
Wales winger Luke Morgan has established himself as one of the deadliest finishers on the Sevens World Series. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie catches up with him on the eve of this weekend's round in Glasgow.
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.