Plans are advancing for a historic $50 million (KShs 5,000,000,000) hybrid game between Australia’s world Rugby League champions, Kangaroos, and New Zealand’s Rugby Union World Cup-winning All Blacks.
The Daily Telegraph has been told the match could be played in Tokyo, Japan, with each team to receive a massive $10m each.
That equates to nearly $600,000 (KShs 62,141,971) for each player who plays in the one-off extravaganza.
The All Blacks have shown preliminary interest and given organisers a window to play the game — between two to four weeks after the 2019 Rugby Union World Cup in Japan.
ARLC chairman John Grant has been informed of the proposed match. The Daily Telegraph has obtained emails clearly showing New Zealand’s interest in the concept.
The match would attract extraordinary commercial interest and television ratings.
Organisers have already started discussing some of the mouth-watering match-ups — Michael Morgan v Beauden Barrett, Sonny Bill Williams v Josh Dugan, Billy Slater v Damian McKenzie, Cooper Cronk v Aaron Smith, Kieran Read v Wade Graham, Boyd Cordner v Samuel Whitelock. Even coaches Mal Meninga against Steve Hansen.
Hybrid Rugby chairman Phil Franks has met with NZRU chief strategy and operations officer, Nigel Cass, in Wellington to discuss the proposal. Franks has also spoken personally to Grant.
Canterbury Crusaders CEO Hamish Riach contacted Franks describing a hybrid game as “intriguing.”
Another hybrid match will be announced within the next few weeks — adding more weight to proposed the Kangaroos-All Blacks game.
Franks and Hybrid director, the legendary Mark Ella, plan to visit Japan next month to try and secure further funding for the match.
“I had a formal discussion with the New Zealand Rugby Union and they were really interested,” Franks said. “They stipulated they wanted to see an elite-class game.
“They are the first to give us a window and a time as to when they want to do it. That window was two weeks to a month after the 2019 World Cup final in Tokyo (on November 2).
“We are absolutely confident we can put it together. This game will be worth $50m. It will be just as big as the final of the World Cup.
“My view is that the teams will share the revenue. They will be getting the lion’s share of the money.
“Let me put it this way, there will be at least $10m for each team. At least. That’s what the game will generate.
“The All Blacks and Kangaroos want to see this game. It’s going to be massive.
The obstacle facing Hybrid organisers is obtaining permission from individual NRL clubs — who contract the players. In rugby union, the one governing body contracts the game’s stars.
Certainly the financial enticement would be attractive to all players. Cash-wise, this would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
It is expected the game would be played with 13 players a side.
* Thirteen players are allowed on the field at any single time, six forwards and seven backs with an additional seven reserves.
* A try is worth five points; conversions and penalty goals are worth two points; a field goal is worth one point.
* A shot clock is used to restrict the attacking side to 60 seconds of possession in each half of the field — no tackle counts are used. The average time for a set of six tackles is 48 to 50 seconds.
* Two referees, one from each code, are to adjudicate hybrid matches similarly to the NRL style of refereeing.
* Lineouts will have a maximum of six players from each side with no “lifting” in the throw in.
* The team in possession has 60 seconds to cross the halfway line playing league rules, at which point, the referees will call change of play to rugby union laws.