As AAP reports:
You might expect New Zealand rugby supporters to be delighting in the Wallabies’ face plant at the Rugby World Cup. And, with Australia set to miss the knockout stage after being thumped by Wales, plenty are.
However, those among the top brass are sounding the alarm for the sport in the region as Rugby Australia confronts a major crisis. Kiwi rugby leaders see the health of their national sport in symbiosis with the code in Australia, and are worried.
“NZ rugby fans should take absolutely no joy from this abject Australian performance,” respected broadcaster Jason Pine wrote on X. “Like it or not, we’re inextricably linked with them internationally. It’s not good for us.”
New Zealand Rugby has long championed a revamp of the Super Rugby Pacific competition to try to boost interest in the competition.
However, a deal agreed in December to instate an independent board has stalled in its implementation, riling the Kiwis.
Colin Mansbridge, chief executive at the Crusaders, who have won the last seven Super Rugby titles, said the Wallabies loss “isn’t good for rugby in our region”.
He took aim at Rugby Austalia chairman Hamish McLennan, who New Zealand suspects is the block on Super Rugby Pacific (SRP) reforms.
“C’mon Hamish let’s get this bloody agreement signed and turn SRP into the factory – fan focused – it needs to be,” he said. “We need a strong ABs AND a strong Wallabies AND a strong Fiji.”
Australia’s dire loss has another Kiwi dimension: it cast further light on the sacking of New Zealand coach Dave Rennie in January.
Rennie was hired as Wallabies coach in 2020 to build the side for this tournament but was unceremoniously dumped and replaced by Eddie Jones as the World Cup loomed. Kiwis believed Rennie, a two-time Super Rugby winner with the Chiefs, was hard done by.
In an ironic twist, Rennie’s last match was also against Wales: a 39-36 win which compares favourably to the 40-6 loss suffered on Monday (AEDT). On the same northern tour, Rennie’s Wallabies lost by just one point to World Cup hosts France in Paris and by three to heavyweights Ireland in Dublin.
The Post Wallabies v Wales scores, teams, time, fixtures, tickets, odds Originally Posted on www.smh.com.au