Plans for a historic cross-code clash between the All Blacks and the Kangaroos could already be “dead in the water”, according to a report out of Australia.
Reports emerged on Thursday stating the All Blacks and Mal Meninga’s Australian rugby league team would meet in a hybrid international following “top-secret negotiations” between New Zealand Rugby and the Australian Rugby League.
NZ Rugby boss Mark Robinson confirmed the All Blacks are in talks to play in the potentially lucrative cross-code clash later this year.
However, the Sydney Morning Herald reports the concept “could already be dead in the water” even before either parties have even gotten close to signing a deal.
One of the reasons is reportedly due to the public airing of the proposal before a final deal had been signed, which raises concerns about the potential backlash from the New Zealand public over the concept as well as NZ Rugby’s reaction given its protectiveness of the All Blacks’ brand.
The Sydney Morning Herald also reports the Australian side of the ledger were not happy with the proposal being made public before any concrete deal was signed.
NRL clubs were reportedly blindsided by the news of the potential clash being organised for December 5, which would cause issues for Kangaroos players who would, under annual leave entitlements, not return to preseason training until January 30.
The report suggested the forecaster turnover for the All Blacks-Kangaroos clash could be over $15 million, a crucial source of profit during the uncertain economic times due to the pandemic.
But NZ Rugby has insisted that its rugby calendar will take priority before any plans for a hybrid clash against the Kangaroos.