SANZAR play down Super Rugby repeat
March 30, 2011
A Crusaders fan holds a placard supporting the earthquake-hit city of Christchurch © Getty Images
SANZAR chief executive Greg Peters has played down hopes of Super Rugby returning to northern hemisphere.
The Crusaders beat The Sharks 44-28 at Twickenham on Sunday in the first ever Super Rugby clash staged outside of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
The highly-entertaining game - moved to London following last month's devastating earthquake in Christchurch, which damaged the Crusaders' AMI Stadium - boasted a host of international stars, attracted a bumper crowd of 35,094 and generated a six-figure sum for the Red Cross Earthquake Appeal.
Speaking exclusively to ESPNscrum, Peters heaped praise on those responsible for making it happen but revealed that there is unlikely to be a repeat in the near future.
"The Crusaders v Sharks game at Twickenham last weekend was a fantastic spectacle and a great advertisement for all that is good about Super Rugby," he said. "The game would not have taken place in such a short timeframe without the goodwill and can-do attitude of everyone involved.
"SANZAR will be fully debriefing the game and that will undoubtedly provide useful learnings. However, in terms of future games in the north it needs to be remembered that SANZAR has sold Super Rugby to its key broadcasting partners and fans to be played in its three territories - South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
"The approval to move this match to Twickenham was granted on a one-off basis to the Crusaders as a result of tragic, unforeseen circumstances. The decision for this game should not be seen as a precedent. That is not to say it won't happen though."
Following his side's dazzling triumph, Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder declared his belief that Super Rugby has an obvious future in the northern hemisphere. "There was a great crowd out there. It shows it can be done. It was for adverse reasons why the game was put on [at Twickenham] but I hope the people enjoyed Super Rugby," he said.
"There were some great skills, some great players, some real power and swings of momentum on show. I'd like to think it could happen again one day and I thought it was just superb."
Sharks coach John Plumtree disagreed, although his squad arrived in London after matches in Perth, Melbourne and Hamilton, suggesting that it would make sense for any future match staged in the northern hemisphere to be arranged after a bye weekend.
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