Tue 25 May 2021 | 11:07

Call for RA to create Asia-Australia comp

Call for RA to create Asia-Australia comp
Tue 25 May 2021 | 11:07
Call for RA to create Asia-Australia comp
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SPOTLIGHT: Western Force chief executive Tony Lewis has urged Rugby Australia to forge ties with Asia to create another competition that will better prepare players for the rigours of Super Rugby.

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Australian teams are 0-10 after two rounds of the Trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, with the lopsided results further proof of how far superior NZ rugby is.

With the second-tier National Rugby Championship scrapped, Lewis feels there is a big gap between club rugby and Super ranks in Australia.

He doesn’t want to see the NRC reinstated but feels a new competition taking in teams from Australia and Asia would be the best fit.

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“The most important thing is there’s no place in rugby in Australia where that next-tier player gets that opportunity to develop,” Lewis said.

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“All of our development is taking place in Super Rugby, which to me is showing no consideration to the welfare of the player and the development of the player.

“Young Will [Waratahs flyhalf Will Harrison] gets slaughtered in the media, but is it his fault that his rugby development has been 15 Super games in a team that’s struggling?

“You saw it last week with James Turner for the Waratahs. He’s been the form winger in Sydney club rugby this year, gets thrown into the game against a couple of All Blacks and he looks average.

“The classic thing is he went over there with moulded boots and no one thought to tell him that it’s slightly wet in NZ and studs would be a good idea.”

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When the Western Force were booted out of Super ranks in 2017, billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest launched a competition called Global Rapid Rugby that was set to include teams from the Asia Pacific region.

Lewis feels there’s still scope for that but he wants teams from Australia’s major cities to be involved as well, rather than just the Force.

“We need to align with Japan,” Lewis said.

“NZ has got their competition [National Provincial Championship]. We don’t need to follow them. We need to be innovative and get out there and see what’s there. There are other parts of Asia.

“I know South Korea’s national side is strong. They’ve had a rugby program going for quite some time.

“If we worked in partnership with Japan and the other Asian countries we could build something that’s going to have public appeal.”

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Call for RA to create Asia-Australia comp - australia | Rugby365