8 Oct 2011

ARU boss rejects suggestions All Blacks replaceable

1:29 pm on 8 October 2011

The head of the Australian Rugby Union, John O'Neill, has rejected suggestions by the head of the International Rugby Board that the All Blacks are not essential to the Rugby World Cup.

IRB chief executive Mike Miller made the comment earlier this week in response to suggestions that the New Zealand Rugby Union may boycott the next tournament unless changes are made to its structure.

The NZRU says participating in the tournament has cost it $13 million.

Mr O'Neill says competing in the World Cup costs the ARU $20 million and while threatening a boycott is not the Australian union's style but equally the notion that any team is replaceable is "nonsensical".

"There's a great saying I picked up from a South African once, 'We'll double cross that bridge when we get to it,'" O'Neill added.

"I'm hopeful of a sensible resolution. Threatening to boycott a World Cup is not our style, but the notion that any team is replaceable is nonsensical.

"A World Cup without the All Blacks, the Wallabies, the Springboks, I'm not sure that's a World Cup.

"That's not a path we want to go down. We think the resolutions are there."