Moore backs State of Origin concept

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies captain Stephen Moore has backed the idea of a rugby State Of Origin series, as initiatives are floated to re-ignite the code in Australia.

The Super Rugby format is currently under review, with speculation the number of teams could be condensed.

While Moore didn’t want to speculate on franchises’ futures, he said he fully endorsed a move to innovate in the sport, with an eye on more Australian teams playing each other more often.

“In Australia the rugby public likes the local derbies, how we can maximise that across Australia but also I know there’s big implications around the TV broadcast and the [five] countries involved,” he said.

“But I saw something about the State of Origin concept, I think that might be something worth exploring.

“Any new idea or new product that we can bring into the market to make our game better is worth looking at. - Stephen Moore

“That’s probably just in discussion at the moment but that may be something we could really look at.”

One of the major and oft-acknowledged challenges for Australian rugby to maintain its depth is combatting the European clubs’ offers.

“If you look at the financial side then it’s very tough for us to keep all the players we want to,” Moore said.

“We can keep most of them, but there’ll always going to be a few players that decide to play in the northern hemisphere.

“We’re probably very quick to pin the financial side on players coming up here, it’s not always the case.

“Some players come here for other reasons, life experience, living in a different country, to spend more time at home, there’s many different reasons.

Moore said the Wallabies and the Australian rugby scene had to look at different ways of doing things to keep players in Australia.

“For us, we need to look at everything that’s non-financial that we can do well to keep players in Australia,”- Stephen Moore

“Ultimately it’s about the desire to play for Australia and wear that jersey, but also everything that goes around that.

“What does it look like to play in Australia? And I know there’s been a lot of debate around the Super Rugby format and the structure and they’re talking a lot about what that best looks like beyond next season and I think that’s important.

“And ultimately the Wallabies experience, Cheik’s [Wallabies coach Michael Cheika] talked a lot about making that experience really special and place that players really want to go and be involved and wear that jersey.

“That’s why I’ve stayed around and played for Australia, it means a lot to me and I don’t want to give that opportunity up

“Every case is different. I know more than ever, Cheika and everyone at the ARU are doing all they can to keep the players we want in Australia.

“It’s tough but we’ll keep fighting that fight.”