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Pac 6 Nations



Super idea for Aussies
By Jon Geddes
has been approached to play in a new Super Six rugby competition next year involving teams from New Zealand, Japan and the Pacific islands.

The chairmen and CEOs of Australia's four provinces were briefed on the tournament during a meeting with Australian Rugby Union managing director Gary Flowers this week.

The proposal, which is the brainchild of the International Rugby Board, would see Australia A playing the Junior All Blacks, Japan, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.

Teams would probably be divided into two pools of three, with matches played in June and July after the Super 14.

"The IRB are yet to finalise the detail and the schedule, but I think there may be a final," Flowers said.

He believes those issues will have to be addressed by the end of the year. One matter of concern was the likely strength of the island teams, but Flowers said the competition was scheduled in the June window so that their overseas players could be available.

"Just how many they get back from the northern hemisphere is anyone's guess, but I understand the IRB will be exercising a fair bit of pressure to get those players available," he said.

While the IRB would fund the island teams, Flowers said the ARU would still have to still pay for the assembly costs and match payments for Australia A, which he said would not be insignificant.

But a major stumbling block as far as Australia's involvement is concerned is that the IRB is seeking a three-year commitment to the tournament.

"We have to be a bit careful about committing past 2006 subject to what happens with the next version of the APC [Australian Provincial Competition] because we are very keen to get some sort of national competition up," Flowers said.

"At the moment we are in the position where we have a lot of stakeholder support looking at that."

The need for a national competition in Australia to fill the void between club rugby and the Super 14 was again emphasised during the Wallabies' recent European tour.

"It probably makes people aware that our players need top-flight competition on a regular basis, but that is not undermining the importance of the club competition at all," Flowers said.

"It also gives us potentially an added commercial product and added top-flight rugby for spectators to watch after Super 14."

The new competition comes after the IRB scuttled the ARU's idea for a Super Eight tournament which would have included the four Australian provinces, the three Pacific island nations and Japan

What is meant by the Junior AB's?Like NZ 'A' or what? What happens to selections when the NZ Moari are over at the churchill cup in canada at the exact same time?What happens to that super powers cup or what ever they call it between Japan, Russia, canada and US? Other than that I think it's a good idea that should help build rugby.
NZ 'A' exactly. They aren't junior as such... some this year were 32, but then again there was a 20 year old and Rokocoko!!!! Yay!

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