Andy Marinos has dismissed the possibility of a Rugby World Club Challenge
European media outlets had reported discussions to set up the match were underway
He did not rule out discussing the idea some time in the future
SANZAR chief executive Andy Marinos has dismissed the possibility of a Rugby World Club Challenge match between the Super Rugby champions and the winners of the European Rugby Champions Cup.
European media outlets have reported European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) – the governing body for European rugby competitions – is in dialogue with SANZAR about organising a game essentially to decide the world’s best club rugby side.
EPCR released a statement saying it was “actively formulating a strategy” on how to facilitate such a game and “in discussions with SANZAR with a view to working on a joint proposal regarding the match”.
Marinos, however, has quashed such speculation, saying SANZAR has not been spoken to about the concept.
“It’s probably a little bit of a premature bullet that’s been fired across the ditch in our direction,” Marinos told Fairfax Media from South Africa.
“As CEO of SANZAR, I haven’t been contacted or spoken to anyone in regards to any such game. I was pretty surprised to see it across the newspapers and all the media platforms. I don’t know whether there might have been a bit of a wire crossing … it’s probably an eagerness on the part of European Rugby.”
For years, rugby league’s World Club Challenge between Australian and English teams has been a highly entertaining fixture and the potential for rugby to follow suit has already garnered plenty of interest from fans across the globe.
If a game – as proposed – was scheduled this season, last year’s Super Rugby champions the Highlanders would do battle with European powerhouse club Toulon.
While Marinos said such a game was not in SANZAR’s plans at the moment, he did not rule out discussing the idea some time in the future.
“It’s been one of those items that’s been on the radar for a number of years, so I don’t think it’s something we would completely discount but not at this stage are we looking at anything like that,” Marinos said.