IBR wants to resurrect old tour tradition
THE International Rugby Board last night agreed to investigate a return to traditional touring as a way of addressing concerns over the value of June tours to the southern hemisphere.
Australia and New Zealand recently warned they would be prepared to scrap future European tours in protest at having to host under-strength touring teams.
France have sent shadow squads to Australia and New Zealand over the past two summers because their domestic club competition has not finished until the end of June.
England selected their strongest possible squad for the trip to New Zealand, but they were still missing a large number of front-line players who were in various stages of rehab.
Neither Test was sold out. Both Australia and New Zealand are angry that ticket sales and revenues are hit by below-strength touring teams.
The issue was high on the agenda at yesterday's meeting at Heathrow of the ten tier one nations. It was agreed that a return to traditional tours – with midweek matches played in between Tests – would be the "best way to enhance meaning and value for the problematic June window".
The meeting also agreed to conclude discussions about the integration of Argentina into the Tri-Nations "as a matter of urgency".
The IRB will also explore the possibility of setting up a tournament or series of matches in a Lions year involving countries not being toured.
For example, next summer that would include Argentina, France, Australia and New Zealand.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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