SANZAR Chief denies talks about potential European v Super Rugby champions game

It was thought that talks were ongoing to host an a World Club Challenge style event.

SANZAR Chief denies talks about potential European v Super Rugby champions game

Credit ©INPHO/Photosport/Marty Melville

Hopes of an annual heavy-weight bout between the club champions of Europe and Super Rugby have been dealt a blow after SANZAR distanced themselves from the project.

Andy Marino, CEO of the of the Southern Hemisphere's governing body dismissed the notion, describing the talk as a 'premature bullet'. 

It was thought that a deal was being worked on following a statement mid-week from European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) that said they were 'actively formulating a strategy' on how to organise a game. 

However, the European body's eagerness for a World Club challenge hasn't been reciprocated by their counterparts south of the equator.

“It’s probably a little bit of a premature bullet that’s been fired across the ditch in our direction,” Marinos said Marino.

“As CEO of SANZAR, I haven’t been contacted or spoken to anyone in regards to any such game. I was pretty surprised to see it across the newspapers and all the media platforms.

“I don’t know whether there might have been a bit of a wire crossing. It’s probably an eagerness on the part of European Rugby. It’s been one of those items that’s been on the radar for a number of years, so I don’t think it’s something we would completely discount, but not at this stage are we looking at anything like that.

“I think the focus is getting our current competition structure off to a successful launch in its first season — that’s got to be our focus. At SANZAR we’ll certainly be looking over the next cycle to see how we can improve and advance the competition that we’ve currently got.

“If that means looking at alternatives like that, we’ll certainly entertain those as part of a wider discussion.”

The introduction of the World Club challenge in rugby league has proved immensely popular, as the champions of the NRL and European Super League are pitted against one another.