European Rugby Cup

SANZAR chief dismisses talk of World Club Challenge-style game

A proposed annual meeting between the European Rugby Champions Cup and Super Rugby champions will be put on the backburner after SANZAR distanced themselves from the idea.

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) responded to British reports this week, claiming to be in discussions over introducing a World Club Challenge-style game between rugby union's northern and southern-hemisphere rivals.

The World Club Challenge has proven popular in rugby league, annually pitting Super League and the NRL's best sides against each other.

But SANZAR chief executive Andy Marinos says any proposed showpiece game is not on the agenda.

"It's probably a little bit of a premature bullet that's been fired across the ditch in our direction," Marinos told Fairfax Media.

"As CEO of SANZAR, I haven't been contacted or spoken to anyone in regards to any such game. I was pretty surprised to see it across the newspapers and all the media platforms. 

"I don't know whether there might have been a bit of a wire crossing. It's probably an eagerness on the part of European Rugby.

"It's been one of those items that's been on the radar for a number of years, so I don't think it's something we would completely discount but not at this stage are we looking at anything like that.

"I think the focus is getting our current competition structure off to a successful launch in its first season - that's got to be our focus. 

"At SANZAR we'll certainly be looking over the next cycle to see how we can improve and advance the competition that we've currently got. If that means looking at alternatives like that, we'll certainly entertain those as part of a wider discussion."