In a "bombshell moment for the game," Rugby Australia told long-time ally New Zealand Rugby it is "strongly considering leaving Super Rugby once and for all." What is more, "RA is considering a domestic-only competition" to replicate the Australian Football League and National Rugby League. RA Chair Hamish McLennan informed NZR Chair Stewart Mitchell over dinner that RA was "strongly considering calling it a day on their partnership following the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season." McLennan: "We'll honor our commitments in '23 but we need to see what’s best for rugby in Australia leading up to the RWC in Australia in '27. All bets are off from ’24 onwards with NZ." There has been a "strong dose of bitterness" ever since former NZR Chair Brent Impey "cast aside South Africa and Argentina" following the onset of COVID-19 (FOXSPORTS.com.au, 6/16).
A A$60M ($41.5M) imbalance in broadcast revenue between RA and NZR was a "driving force" behind McLennan threatening to cut ties and launch a domestic competition in '24. Australia’s broadcast deal with Nine and Stan Sport expires at the end of '23. A two-year extension is on the table. McLennan said that Australia could "absolutely" sustain a domestic competition from a financial perspective. He added, "Look at the ratings when we did Australia only." Robinson responded, "From our view, NZR is committed to our relationship with RA and any discussions in relation to the future of Super Rugby will be had first and foremost with them, and not through the media." Sources said that McLennan’s "grenade" was part of negotiations between RA and NZR for a better split of broadcast revenue (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/16).