FILE - The All Blacks perform the haka ahead of the Rugby World Cup Bronze Final against Wales. Photo: Peter Cziborra/Reuters
FILE - The All Blacks perform the haka ahead of the Rugby World Cup Bronze Final against Wales. Photo: Peter Cziborra/Reuters

All Blacks coach open to cross-code Kangaroos clash

By Reuters Time of article published Jun 26, 2020

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WELLINGTON – All Blacks coach Ian Foster is open to playing Australia's rugby league world champion Kangaroos in a 14-a-side hybrid game in December, but his priority remains getting as many test matches as possible for New Zealand this year.

The All Blacks and Kangaroos are among the most successful international teams in any sport, dominating their respective codes for much of the past three decades.

With sport suffering severe financial losses from the coronavirus, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) have said they are interested in the cross-code concept.

"We're not dismissing anything," Foster said in an interview posted on the All Blacks website.

"Our first priority is playing All Blacks tests so we're waiting on what happens with Australia, South Africa and Argentina in particular.

"I've had a couple of talks with (Kangaroos coach) Mal Meninga about what a game would look like so there's a lot of work to be done in that space. It's a proposal on the table at the moment."

Foster said he thought that even if the match came off, it would not settle the question of which of the teams was the greatest.

"It's one of those debates that will go on in New Zealand and Aussie pubs for a long time," he added. "But the reality is even if we played, we'd probably never know because there'd be a debate about the rules and who it favoured."

In another money-spinning initiative, NZR have revived the once annual North Island v South Island fixture this year and Foster revealed the criteria under which the players would be selected for each team.

"We think the best legacy thing for us to do is to pick players on the first province they played for," he said.

"Because the choice they made when they played first class rugby for that province was probably the start of their move into the professional game."

Reuters

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