Jurie Roux: Global season a step closer
September 24, 2013
SARU chief Jurie Roux is optimistic that a global season compromise can be achieved © Getty Images
Progress towards a global rugby season may be glacial but it is happening, according to South African Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux.
He told sport24.co.za that there was a willingness in both the northern and southern hemispheres to make sacrifices to bring the global season together. The first step to change would involve small shifts in itineraries.
However, the South Africans insist the need for a sixth franchise is a non-negotiable part of a future Super Rugby plan, but they are up against concerns from the Sanzar partners that the conference system will be unbalanced. With concerns in Europe about the future shape of competitions there, there was a greater desire at the International Rugby Board to have the global season rated as "a paramount issue".
"It's on the agenda for the next executive council meeting - and has been on the agenda for a long time," Roux said. "Now they've actually got schedules for the first time, they're talking about it , there's a willingness from both parties [hemispheres] to make sacrifices because that's the real thing: somebody's got to make a paradigm shift.
"We don't play rugby in December here; we're all off to the beach or on farms or somewhere other than a rugby field. And even if you do organise games at that time of year in Durban, Cape Town or Port Elizabeth, people aren't going to them because they've sacrificed the whole year for that specific family holiday time and they'll just have too much trouble [going to rugby].
"But there's a willingness to at least have that first shift, possibly moving the [mid-year Test window], so I think it's a lot closer than people think it is. You won't see a complete global season immediately where we all play at exactly the same time, but it will be a step closer," he said.
The move to a July window for internationals, instead of June, would allow countries to go straight into The Rugby Championship. That would allow the Super Rugby season to be finished without the break that has been introduced around the June Tests.
"You have to sell Super Rugby, and from a commercial and marketing point of view [the break] is a bit of a nightmare," he said. "And if we can successfully negotiate that first step, because people are fearful of change, then they'll realise the benefits."
One of the factors could be reducing the exposure of players to the European winter.
World rugby has paid tribute to Nelson Mandela after the great man - Madiba - passed away at his home in South Africa today, aged 95
Kieran Read beats All Blacks team-mates Ben Smith and Liam Messam to lift the Kel Tremain Memorial Trophy two days after being crowned International Rugby Board World Player of the Year
Seven All Blacks are named by their peers in the inaugural International Rugby Players Association World XV, with Kieran Read taking out another Player of the Year award
John McEnroe believes Andy Murray can emulate Rafael Nadal's return from injury, as the Scot continues his rehabilitation after back surgery
New Zealand's Super Rugby franchises launch their jumpers with a spectacular display of giant jerseys across the country to mark the first day of replica sales
The WRU recently awarded President's caps to players who took part in Victory internationals in 1945-6 and internationals against overseas sides in the 1960s and 1970s. Why weren't caps given at the time?
With the next 147 maximum break set to be the 100th in the history of snooker, we look back to the quickest made by 'The Rocket', Ronnie O'Sullivan, when he cleared the table in a record five minutes and 20 seconds
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson
Things look like they can't get much worse for David Moyes. However if you fancy Newcastle to pile some fresh misery on Manchester United, you can back them for victory at Old Trafford at 6/1
Ewen McKenzie displayed a glimpse of a slight grin after his Wallabies had defeated Wales, and Greg Growden believes the Moai of Australian rugby is excused his brief moment of frivolity