Rugby

A New Cross-Hemisphere Tournament Could See Pro 12 Teams Clash With Super Rugby Counterparts

A New Cross-Hemisphere Tournament Could See Pro 12 Teams Clash With Super Rugby Counterparts

Southern and Northern Hemisphere rugby could be set to unite to launch a new tournament which could see some of the best clubs from across the globe facing each other, if talks currently underway between SANZAR (they who oversee Super Rugby) and the Pro 12 are successful.

According to the Independent, the money discrepancy between the Pro 12 and the English and French leagues has led to Pro 12 officials investigating methods of closing the financial gap and the possibility of Pro 12 teams facing counterparts from Super Rugby in a new international club tournament are being discussed.

Reports came out recently which suggested that Martin Anayi, Managing Director of the Pro 12, has been seeking ways to improve the league's financial status which includes inviting at least one American team to join, but the idea of a tournament featuring Super Rugby and the Pro 12 seems to be a much more attractive and viable possibility.

Pairing up teams who are separated by the equator presents its own logistical difficulties, with travel for both teams and fans being chief among them. Any agreement between SANZAR and the Pro 12 will require both of their calendars to align in a way that they currently don't.

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This is a very attractive possibility for Irish rugby fans and would initiate new rivalries, make new stars and be a huge hit for television broadcasters - and that revenue would, in theory at least, serve pad the coffers of the IRFU and the four provinces.

Imagine seeing Israel Folau in the RDS, or Robbie Henshaw at Westpac Stadium. We can only dream.

John Balfe

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