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ARU propose annual north-south decider
March 7, 2000

Plans have been drafted by the Australian Rugby Union for an annual showdown between the Southern and Northern hemisphere champions.

Australian Rugby Union (ARU) chief executive John O'Neill told the Australian newspaper on Tuesday that he had prepared a paper for the International Rugby Board, calling for an end-of-year clash between the Tri-Nations and Six-Nations winners.

O'Neill said the match would be played in October at the end of the Southern Hemisphere season. He said the plan would be tabled at the IRB's next meeting in Dublin later this month.

"At the moment it's just a suggestion. Obviously there would have to be a complete rethink on the season structure for this to go ahead", O'Neill said.

"But we're putting it there to be talked about."

O'Neill also revealed Australia is hoping to play the World Cup final under lights for the first time when it hosts the tournament in 2003.

The ARU boss also said Australia wanted to stage matches at least five days a week to avoid a repeat of the cluttered programme used at the 1999 tournament.

Under the proposal, which he presented to World Cup officials at a meeting in Singapore last week, the tournament would be split into four pools of five teams.

Australia and New Zealand would each host two pools as well as two quarter-finals with the semifinals and final in Australia.

The tournament would kick off on October 3 with the final to be played at Sydney's Olympic stadium on November 8.

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