Wallabies to play NZ in Hong Kong - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies to play NZ in Hong Kong

By Jim Morton 15/07/2007 07:00:16 PM Comments (0)

The Wallabies are set to play a fourth Test against the All Blacks in Hong Kong next year but it won't count towards the Bledisloe Cup.

High-level plans for the one-off money-spinner have been leaked, angering Australian Rugby Union officials intent on keeping details in-house before reaching agreement with the New Zealand Rugby Union.

ARU chief executive John O'Neill on Sunday admitted the clash, likely to be played in November 2008 when both teams tour Europe, was being discussed.

"Nothing's been ruled in or ruled out at this stage," O'Neill said.

"It's just one of a number of ideas that's being looked at to expand the game more widely."

A New Zealand newspaper reported the Hong Kong clash would serve as a "gimmick", possibly with neither side at full strength.

Nor would it count for the Bledisloe Cup, which will be fought out over three Tests - with two in Australia - during the 2008 Tri-Nations.

The NZRU would not comment on the issue, nor that it was seeking to add extra Tests to the All Blacks' 2008 end-of-season tour presently comprising two Tests against Scotland and one against Ireland.

Wallabies coach John Connolly, to stand down after the Rugby World Cup in October, gave guarded support for the concept but was concerned about overcooking the Trans-Tasman product.

"It's good for the back pocket I suppose," he said.

"We're playing each other a lot and I noticed last year for the first time we had six Tri-Nations games.

"It's tough, it means you are playing the All Blacks four times in the year."

As Australia would take a squad of 30 players to Europe in late 2008, Connolly expected there would be selection tinkering that would have neither team at full strength.

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