Rennie backs trans-Tasman competition for 2021

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie expects a compromise to be found between New Zealand and Australia when it comes to a competition for 2021.

New Zealand Rugby had last month announced a recommendation for an 8-10 team competition that could include as few as two Australian teams. 

That announcement has sparked public debate back and forth about not only the competition but the relationship between New Zealand and Australia rugby.

Rugby AU chairman Hamish McLennan has been most vocal about that proposal being unacceptable and the Australian body has pushed for at least four teams to be involved in any professional competition next year.

Rennie said a competition involving Australia and New Zealand would be the ideal format going forward.

"It's just a little bit of debating going on, you're going to finish somewhere in the middle," he said.

"Certainly won't be two - I think the trans-Tasman competition's important, important for both countries.

"Obviously there's talk about potential four sides or maybe five sides from here.

"The things I like about the five teams from an Aussie perspective is it's a great opportunity for our young kids to get involved in professional footy and you get that experience and it's one of those things he have is opportunities for those guys.

"You could argue Australia were really successful when they only had three sides and they had three really strong teams but I think if we're looking long-term, there's a lot of competition, the American leagues are starting up and a lot of players are being picked up to go there.

"We need to provide opportunities to stay here for their professional rugby."

Rennie said the availability of more professional opportunities, as well as the global aspect of the game, was pivotal in trying to ensure young talent stayed in Australia as well.

Asked about the quality of the Australian competition compared to New Zealand's Super Rugby Aotearoa, Rennie said he felt Super Rugby AU was finding its feet.

"I guess everyone's comparing the two comps because they're in isolation at the moment and there's no doubt the New Zealand games are real high skill, high intensity and so the step up from that to Test rugby is probably not that massive," he said.

"We're starting to see shifts in the game now, we started three weeks after them.

"Thought the Brumbies-Reds game last week was excellent and there's plenty good kids coming through the system.

"The challenge over here as we know is keeping them in our game - AFL and NRL, there's a lot of teams and a lot of competition for quality kids so I think that's the focus we're trying to bring is getting everyone understanding that while financially....we've got a great game and a lot of great products."