State Of Origin Could Be Coming To Rugby Union

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Queensland and New South Wales are negotiating to stage the long-anticipated inaugural rugby union state of origin match during the June Test window next year.

While QRU chief executive Richard Barker is an enthusiastic supporter, his Waratahs counterpart Andrew Hore is taking a more cautious approach.

“We applaud the initiative and we’re certainly open for discussion,” Hore said. “But we’re mindful of our stakeholders like the (Sydney) Shute Shield clubs. We would (also) need to work with the Australian Rugby Union on this.

“But an origin game does highlight the fact that the vast majority of professional rugby players in this country come from NSW and Queensland and sometimes it doesn’t hurt to mention that. And there is no question, too, that we are looking at the June window very carefully.”

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That is the driver behind the initiative, that both unions struggle to find meaningful content during the period when Super Rugby comes to a standstill for a month while the national side plays three Tests.

Given that both unions are wanting to stage the match as a quality “hole-filler” in the Test window, there would be, almost by definition, doubts over the availability of Wallabies players. But the Tests next year are against Scotland, Italy and Fiji — and there is little doubt that a full-scale state of origin match would have far more spectator appeal.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 24:  Justin Poore of the Blues and Michael Crocker of the Maroons throw punches during game two of the ARL State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at ANZ Stadium on June 24, 2009 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Justin Poore;Michael Crocker

Barker says Australian rugby cannot have a dead hole in the heart of the Super Rugby season.

“The Test window has to be held later and we have to allow momentum to build in the Super Rugby competition,” Barker said.

“All of a sudden we come to a dead stop at a time when rival codes are building to the high point of their seasons. We need the IRB (World Rugby) and Bill (Pulver) to work pretty hard on this.

“Let’s play a state of origin match at Ballymore. It’s a rugby-owned ground, so rugby would get all the proceeds.”

What do you think of this idea? Would you like to see a rugby union State of Origin game?

[The Australian]

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