Rugby Championships matches in the northern hemisphere could become a more regular feature as the competition seeks to attract new audiences and take games to expatriate fans, organisers say.
Australia clash with Argentina at Twickenham in London in their final game of this year’s competition on October 8, the first time a match in the southern hemisphere championship will be staged in the English capital.
Andy Marinos, the chief executive of SANZAR, which runs the Rugby Championship, believes it could be the start of a regular fixture in Europe.
“We saw how positive the (Rugby) World Cup was in the UK and we feel our game is about taking it to as many supporters as possible,” Marinos said in a statement on Thursday.
“It’s a good opportunity for extra exposure and bringing a meaningful Rugby Championship game to London is something that will continue to promote rugby at a moment when its popularity is continuing to grow.
“The style of play in the Rugby Championship is a very exportable commodity to further increase the attractiveness of the sport. People want to see a free-flowing style and the game is moving in that direction.”
Marinos says the global trend is to take matches to new territories, but SANZAR is focussing on England for now.
“Australia, New Zealand, South Africa all have huge ex-pat communities in the UK so these games will be attractive to them,” he said.
“Australia and New Zealand have already taken international rugby abroad to the USA and to Hong Kong, and people will continue to look at new markets, but Europe and the UK has such a strong rugby heritage and we at SANZAR would like to continue that approach.”