Kiwis want 'bigger voice' in the game
YEAR-END SPOTLIGHT: New Zealand, just displaced as the top-ranked team after a decade at No.1, needs a bigger say in how the game is run.
This is the gist of the message by outgoing NZ Rugby CEO Steve Tew.
Speaking with on the Radio Sport Breakfast podcast, Tew suggested that ‘smaller nations’ have too much of a say on how the game is run.
Tew finished his 12-year tenure as CEO this week and will be replaced by Mark Robinson, who takes over in January.
Under Tew, the All Blacks dominated the game – winning two World Cups and sitting pretty at No.1 in the rankings for the best part of 10 years, with the exception of a couple of brief stints at No.2.
Tew suggested that Robinson will have his work cut out to be heard and how the game should be gown in the region.
“We’ve still got a battle at World Rugby to be a voice,” Tew told his hosts Kent Johns, Nathan Rarere and Marc Peard.
“We’ve still got a battle to make sure the future of the game in the Asia-Pacific region is stronger.”
Tew insisted the ‘smaller nations’ in European are the real problem.
He told the podcast that countries like England, France New Zealand, Australia and South Africa understand what is going on in the rest of the world.
“We are working really hard to give those emerging nations the opportunities that they [tier two nations] deserve and that we need them to have, because we need the game to grow,” Tew said.
“Ironically, in my view, it’s the smaller countries – who consider themselves to be tier one countries – that are the hurdle.
“They’re making decisions which are, frankly, protecting them from the inevitable, which is other countries are going to challenge them because they don’t have a scale.”
He said those countries are financially more powerful, because they are in the cash-flush European market.
“The television market, largely driven out of England, is enormous – that is where the money is.
“The smaller countries like Scotland, Ireland and Italy are very protectionist and unfortunately have too much power.”
* Steve Tew speaks (listen from 25 minutes 30 seconds on the podcast)
Tew ‘said the role of CEO is non-stop and will continue to present Robinson challenges.
“The two big things are the finances of rugby and the battle we have against the big economies,” he said, adding: “There’s no question that continues to be an issue.
“Remaining relevant, particularly at the participation and the fan engagement level is not getting any easier.
“Kids are more and more impatient about what they’re going to do with their leisure time.”
While still proud of his work, Tew made the admission he would have done a few things differently if he was handed his time over as the CEO.
“If you don’t learn from every experience you’re not going anywhere are you. There’s plenty of times that I go ‘If I had that over again I might’ve tweaked this’.”
Tew added despite the All Blacks’ less-than-ideal finish at the 2019 World Cup, all of New Zealand’s international teams are in good shape.
Source: Radio Sport Breakfast, New Zealand