It seems it’s not enough for the All Blacks to lose their key playmaker while hosting Rugby Union’s biggest tournament – they want to court controversy by threatening to pull out of the 2015 World Cup. But don’t worry Rugby fans – it will never happen.
The comments came from NZRU boss Steve Tew during an interview with Radio New Zealand. Tew claimed that while pulling out of the next World Cup would be a last resort, it couldn’t be ruled out.
The reason for the bold threat, as you might imagine, is money. It turns out that the International Rugby Board’s restrictive stance on not allowing teams to promote their sponsors during the World Cup is hurting the New Zealand Union’s bottom line. Especially given the fact that the regular international season – including Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup matches – are cut short to accommodate the four-yearly tournament.
But while the threats of a boycott make for great headlines, the chances of New Zealand actually following through with the threat are next to zero. There’s still four years of negotiation to happen before the 2015 tournament, which gives the IRB and NZRU plenty of time to sort out the details on how both organisations can best benefit from the extra exposure the World tournament brings.
And if it does come to a boycott, at least it will be a convenient excuse for the All Blacks not choking during the finals (says a Wallabies supporter on the verge of a quarter final against the Springboks…)