Last weekend saw the British and Irish Lions kick off their Australian tour with a 59 to 8 victory over the Baa-Baa’s in Hong Kong. The game was essentially an exhibition game between two artificial sides, yet over 28,000 people paid good money to watch them run around.
This led me to think about a similar cash-cow for the southern hemisphere unions.
Thus the concept of the “SANZAR Special Forces”® was born.
For over a century the countries that make up Great Britain have come together to pick their best athletes to take on the world. The Lions have drawn on their best since 1888, the Great Britain Olympic team has always drawn its athletes from several countries.
It seems a little odd to allow one team to assemble from several countries while limiting the opposition to a pool of athletes from a single country.
To counter this imbalance, and generate some much needed income SANZAR must appropriate the Lions concept and create a new artificial touring side that comprises of the best of the Wallabies, All Blacks, Springboks and Pumas.
This side would tour the northern hemisphere every four years to take on all comers.
To further enhance the concept, at the end of each tour would be a short four side tournament, a celebration of the exhibition game circuit with the four exhibition conglomerate sides competing for cash and glory.
The proposed teams are the SANZAR Special Forces, the British and Irish Lions, Pacific Islanders Rugby and the Barbarians.
The tour would help fill the coffers of SANZAR and the unions, however a caveat must be placed on the earnings, it must be used for grassroots and “minnow” rugby – how else are the exhibition teams of the future going to be cultivated?
As a final note, the “SANZAR Special Forces”® is a working title. Roarers are invited to suggest a better name. Something that is inclusive and representative of all four nations.