Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver says there is universal support for a rugby State of Origin match but all five domestic franchises have to benefit financially – not just Queensland and NSW.
The man driving the concept, Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) CEO Richard Barker, made a presentation to Pulver and other Australian rugby powerbrokers on Friday ahead of the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens.
Pulver says everyone is behind it – the next step is the QRU crunching the numbers to make it work.
Importantly, that meant ensuring some of the profits went to the Brumbies, Western Force and Melbourne Rebels, who would supply players for what would be a glorified exhibition match at the risk of potential injury, but enjoy none of the spotlight.
Convincing them of the merits is the only major hurdle, according to Pulver.
“If they got nothing out of it, I would agree it would be hard to get approval for their part,” Pulver said.
“But I don’t think that’s the plan. That’s why the financial model has to be developed.
“Certainly, the spirit in the room was that all Super Rugby clubs would get a financial benefit from this game.
“We just need to see what that is and how it would be distributed. I think it would be very attractive.
“Really, the only hurdle from here is getting the five clubs aligned on the fact we can pull this off.”
Pulver said he was very confident Fox Sports and other broadcasters would be interested in a rugby Origin match.
If it happened this year, it would take place the week after the Wallabies’ third mid-year Test in June against Italy in Brisbane.
Ballymore Stadium has been provisionally booked for Thursday, June 29, when all Test players will already be in town, but the SCG has also expressed interest in hosting rights.
“The only challenge we’ve got with our game is the fact we’ve only got 52 weeks a year,” Pulver said.
“We play about 20 weeks of Super Rugby, we then play 15 weeks of Test matches throughout the year and then you’ve got to squeeze in club rugby, the NRC and, most importantly, a substantial break.
“These sorts of ideas have an enormous amount of merit in them but the great challenge is finding room in the calendar for them.
“Interestingly, if our World Rugby discussions go well on the international match calendar, at some point in the future there may be even more opportunity for these sort of games.”