O'Neill stands firm on finance row
November 28, 2011
ARU chief John O'Neill has backed New Zealand's boycott threats © Getty Images
Australia Rugby Union chief John O'Neill has revealed the depth of "angst" felt by top nations over the financial losses incurred by the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
The ARU is set to post an A$8 million loss for 2011 after the World Cup created an A$16 million hole in their budget. While New Zealand Rugby Union chief Steve Tew suggested the during the tournament that All Blacks could boycott the 2015 competition in England if the International Rugby Board refused to alter the current commercial arrangements.
Tew said the tournament had lost them NZ$13 million and O'Neill denied suggestions of a boycott were premature. "I don't think so... what hadn't been in the public arena was how much angst and aggravation there had been behind the scenes," he said.
"It just hadn't arrived in the public arena. So, a fair bit of it was born out of frustration. And probably with all the rugby world media [in attendance] it probably wasn't a bad time to say it straight up, particularly coming from the New Zealand Rugby Union. The All Blacks went on and won the title. You couldn't foresee a World Cup happening without the All Blacks, indeed without the Wallabies or the Springboks."
The World Cup schedule reduces the number of other internationals played, limiting the number of lucrative home test matches, while strict advertising rule prevent teams showcasing their sponsors at the World Cup.
Australia are currently preparing to face Wales at the Millennium stadium, in the second match of a post World Cup tour, which was prompted by the financial losses due to the tournament in New Zealand. "One of the reasons why the Wallabies are over there playing two games now is to reduce the deficit," O'Neill said.
However, O'Neill is confident a solution can be found despite a meeting between the IRB and the top ten rugby nations being put back to February. "We've certainly had an indication that our concerns are being taken seriously," O'Neill said. "Sitting here today we don't have an answer but we expect to get one.
"There's an acceptance certainly by the ten major nations that the formula is too much of a burden. I think we'll get a sympathetic outcome and so I don't want to be suggesting any boycotts or anything like that. I've got faith that we'll get a resolution."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter