ARLC Chair Beattie Proposes Overhaul Of Int'l Rugby League
A return of the British & Irish Lions tour in '19 "remains on the cards despite Australia unveiling plans for the Kangaroos to visit England instead," according to the PA. Confusion "reins over a blueprint" produced by Australian Rugby League Commission Chair Peter Beattie for an "overhaul" of the int'l game. Beattie's proposal for a first Kangaroos tour of Great Britain since '03 "was the eye-catching feature of a revamped four-year calendar but undermined plans" by the Rugby League Int'l Federation to bring back the Lions' tour Down Under. Neither RLIF CEO Nigel Wood nor interim Rugby Football League CEO Ralph Rimmer were available for comment but a spokesperson confirmed the RFL received the alternative proposals last week and that, "after consultations internally, further discussions would take place at a scheduled RLIF meeting in Singapore this month" (PA, 7/12). In Auckland, David Skipwith reported the "bold plan" does not include the "controversial" Denver test between England and New Zealand. The "shake-up" could result in the Kiwis playing Pacific sides "during the midseason stand-alone representative round over the next two years," leaving the future of the independently-promoted Denver test "in doubt." Both England and New Zealand signed a three-year contract with Denver test organizer and promoter Moore Sports, but that arrangement is reportedly "subject to annual reviews" (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 7/12). The AAP reported the plan's idea is "to grow the global game off the back of last year's World Cup success." Beattie said, "Until now, there has not been enough structure around the international game and the game has missed some real opportunities to showcase rugby league outside of Australia. We are presenting a four-year calendar which can be repeated and replicated in future cycles to give the international game more certainty and exposure" (AAP, 7/12). In Sydney, Brent Read reported the National Rugby League "still harbours dreams" of starting the league next season with a game in L.A., "likely between South Sydney and Melbourne." NRL CEO Todd Greenberg "remains optimistic" the Denver test "will go ahead" and indicated an announcement "could be made within a month." Asked about what the schedule would mean for the Denver test, Beattie said, "It is not part of a strategy." Greenberg suggested "incursions into North America were a bigger issue that needed to be discussed by the RLIF" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/13).