Could England RL play Australia RU?

The RFL is denying a story that broke out in a Sydney newspaper on Sunday suggesting that England or Great Britain would take on Australian rugby union’s Wallabies in a hybrid code game at Wembley Stadium on 6 December next year.

According to a report in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph, the two teams have provisionally agreed to the game and will receive $5 million each for the groundbreaking encounter. Each player will pocket around $50,000 for his efforts.

The clash would be staged a week after the Wallabies’ last game on their 2014 northern hemisphere tour and two weeks after the final of the Four Nations Tournament in Australia.
The original plan was to stage a game at ANZ Stadium between the Australian Test sides from both codes of rugby.

The NRL showed some interest, but realised there would be stiff opposition from the club bosses, already smarting over the long season in 2013 because of the World Cup.

So the NRL hierarchy gave the promoters the thumbs down.

RFL chief executive Nigel Wood is reported to have met with Wallabies boss Bill Pulver in London early last month and is reported to have agreed to the game, subject to commercial safeguards.

London-based lawyer Steve Berrick and his promotions company International Sports Investments are reported to have been hired to stage the clash. Berrick is well known for his promotion of matches pitting rugby union’s Barbarians against touring overseas rugby union Test sides.

But RFL Communications Manager John Ledger poured cold water on the idea when contacted by League Express on Sunday.

“We are aware of the hybrid code proposals, which have been around for a while. (Former Wallabies coach) Bob Dwyer did a launch in Leeds last year which we didn’t attend,” said Ledger.

“Whilst they have corresponded with us, we haven’t met them and aren’t looking to progress this.”

By Chris Jones and Malcolm Andrews