ARU keen to tweak Test calendar

Date published: March 21 2015

The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) have asked for in-bound June Test series in non-World Cup years to be rescheduled so that Super Rugby can run without a break.

ARU chief executive Bill Pulver made the request at a recent World Cup meeting of the various rugby unions' chief executives in Dublin.

Pulver revealed his union's frustration that Super Rugby must be put on hold for the in-bound Tests in June during non-World Cup years, only to restart at the end of June when the tournament's last three rounds and knockout matches take place.

That tournament finishes two weeks before the Rugby Championship starts in mid-August and Pulver wants Super Rugby to be played without the break and for the international season to follow that with the in-bound Tests and Rugby Championship.

He realises, however, that it will be difficult to convince his counterparts in the northern hemipshere, who will be wary of the impact a rescheduling of the Test programme wolud have on their unions' interests as well as clubs  competing in tournaments like the Aviva Premiership and Top 14.

But Pulver is determined to to continue with his request and is hopeful his proposed options which he tabled at the Dublin meeting might will get a favourable response.

"From a southern hemisphere perspective, we are frustrated that the June in-bounds force this big break in Super Rugby," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"We would love to change that.

"In an ideal world you would have a Super Rugby season that starts in February and ends in the end of June, and then you would roll into your internationals …

"That is an item on the agenda. [But] change on the international match calendar is bloody hard.

"We have put a couple of options to them that we think could work – some that are quite exciting.

"I don't want to talk about them just yet, but we have thrown a couple of options at them that we really think are worth looking at."

Pulver said interest in Super Rugby wanes when the tournament goes on its break.

"There are two or three Super Rugby teams that are out of the 'comp' as soon as you get to that break," he added.

"Then you come back for two or three games after [the break and] their fans are gone.

"It's a brutal impact on their season."