Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 September 2020

All Blacks set to face Kangaroos in cross-code rugby blockbuster

Rugby Union v Rugby League showdown mooted for December

All Blacks doing the haka. Getty
All Blacks doing the haka. Getty

Talks are under way to stage a historic cross-code rugby international match between New Zealand's All Blacks and Australia's Kangaroos.

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga said there had been "serious negotiations" to set up the clash for December as both rugby union and rugby league look for ways to recoup losses from the Covid-19 enforced shutdown.

"We are still in talks but obviously news of this has got out," Meninga said.

New Zealand Rugby boss Mark Robinson confirmed his team were in talks, although he said his priority was salvaging as many rugby union Tests as possible in 2020.

"We've had an approach. We'll work that through and go through the proper process... if we feel it has merit to take further," Robinson said.

Meninga said he relished the chance to pit his 13-a-side stars against the might of New Zealand's 15-a-side game.

"I'm keen to make this happen. We want to play the All Blacks, hopefully we can get the concept off the ground," he said.

"The best from our game versus the best from the New Zealand game... let's do it."

The Test would be a 14-a-side match on December 5 in Australia and could potentially become a regular blockbuster biannual fixture.

"We've had the option put to us of this hybrid game with the Kangaroos," said Robinson.

"And it's one of many different scenarios in a unique year like this that we are considering with being innovative and having a focus on trying to consider revenue-generating ideas at this time given the financial climate that we're in."

Both NZR and Australian rugby league have lost millions of dollars due to the coronavirus pandemic, with borders closed and Test matches cancelled.

The Kangaroos were due to play three Tests in England in October and November, with Australian players now having the three-match State of Origin series between New South Wales and Queensland in November.

Currently, the All Blacks are only scheduled to take on the Wallabies in what is expected to be a four-match Bledisloe Cup series after the Rugby Championship was postponed.

If the cross-code clash goes ahead, it would likely attract significant interest. The All Blacks are a global brand while the Kangaroos are the current rugby league world champions.

Kangaroos vice-captain Daly Cherry-Evans said he was all for it.

"I have got absolutely no idea how it would work but it sounds fun so I would be up for it," he said.

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy said he had heard that "they'd have rugby union rules for one half and rugby league for another half".

Updated: June 25, 2020 02:05 PM

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