ARU boss upbeat about state of the game - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

ARU boss upbeat about state of the game

By Adrian Warren 23/09/2008 07:54:01 PM Comments (0)

Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill has predicted the code was about to undergo a transformation similar to the one it experienced when it took the leap into professionalism in the last decade.

While complimenting Wallabies coach Robbie Deans for adding four uncapped players to his squad after blooding eight other test tyros earlier in the season, O'Neill was excited about the mooted expansion of the game, especially at Super 14 level.

He was already looking beyond the proposed expanded finals series on the drawing board for next year

"I think the opportunity is there to evolve to the next stage, I think we're ready for it," O'Neill said.

"We are hopeful in 2010 we will go to Super 15 and then within a three-year period go to Super 18.

"That brings with it an opportunity to expand into a Japanese market, maybe the American market.

"This is another moment of transformation. The game was transformed in 95/96 with the arrival of the professional era."

O'Neill said the Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand scheduled for Hong Kong on November 1 was close to being sold out.

He suggested it was highly likely there would be further trans-Tasman showdowns outside Australia and New Zealand.

"Tokyo, there's talk of a game in Denver Colorado. We might even play the All Blacks and Wallabies at Twickenham, that's not out of the question," O'Neill said.

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