Rugby Union: Trans-Tasman league talk 'rejected by New Zealand'

New Zealand Rugby Union rejected the suggestion of a new trans-Tasman league to save all five Australian Super Rugby teams.

A proposal to save all five Australian Super Rugby teams with a new trans-Tasman competition was knocked back by New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU), Australian Rugby Union (ARU) chairman Cameron Clyne said.

Australia is set to lose one Super Rugby franchise while South Africa will have two teams cut from the competition, with the league's governing body SANZAAR confirming the decision to go from 18 sides to 15 on Sunday.

Either Western Force or Melbourne Rebels will be expunged, but - according to Clyne - the ARU tried to avoid that possibility by discussing forming a new league with the five New Zealand-based teams.

"We explored the trans-Tasman option, there was no appetite from New Zealand to pursue that competition," Clyne said.

"We explored it extensively and we explored it through this process.

"The view that we can throw down and stand up and do a whole range of things, that requires a willing partner, we didn't have a willing partner."

Asked about the prospect of Australian teams going it alone, Clyne replied: "We're not doing that in isolation of any of the partners.

"There are also scenarios being discussed that might have seen other people cut free.

"At the end of the day there's not an appetite at the moment.

"When that appetite emerges, we will always continue to push it, we think it's got merit but at the moment this is the one that's actually got the consensus support from SANZAAR and it's the one we're going to pursue."

On the idea of all Australian sides being cut out by the teams from New Zealand and South Africa, Clyne added: "You don't call a bluff unless you're prepared for the outcomes and I've enjoyed the amount of people who've become urologists in this game and made assessments about anatomical requirements.

"The reality is that [when] people say, 'Australia should just tough it out, the Kiwis will never fly over the top of you to play South Africa,' - you've got to be absolutely sure that's the case when you play that card.

"You may think it, but you don't know. We're in this to get the best outcome for Australian rugby. Everyone's looking at it from their own perspective.

"So, you cannot play that card unless you're prepared for the outcome and the outcome may very well be that they do fly over the top of you."

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