New Zealand confirm discussions with Australia rugby league are underway
The All Blacks facing off against rugby league’s famous Kangaroos of Australia, in an epic code clash? It may sound fanciful but it was confirmed today: talks are underway between both sides.
It began with a report in Australia’s Courier Mail on Thursday that claimed a 14-a-side hybrid union-league contest between the All Blacks and Kangaroos was being lined up for early December. Later, New Zealand Rugby boss Mark Robinson explained that negotiations have been underway to explore a potentially lucrative event.
“We’ve had an approach,” Robinson confirmed of the story. “We’ll work that through and go through the proper process… if we feel it has merit to take further.
“It’s one of the many different options… we are considering.
“It’s not new. The last time NZR had an approach was in 2017.”
In the initial report, Kangaroos boss Mal Meninga said: “I’m keen to make this happen. We want to play the All Blacks, hopefully, we can get the concept off the ground,” adding that 5 December was the date being thrown around.
Things will be very different today, but some fans may remember the cross-code challenges between Bath and Wigan back in 1996. Then, there were two matches – a league game and a union one.
Former Bath and England wing Jon Sleightholme recently told Rugby World of those match-ups: “The hardest thing was the defensive aspect (Bath lost 82-6). Union has learnt so much from league and it has had a huge impact. We couldn’t get to grips with the defensive stuff. We were all absolutely blowing because it was so different and if you speak to the league boys they will say the same about the game at Twickenham (Bath won 44-19).”
If a southern hemisphere clash can get off the ground, it would draw significant international attention.
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