Australia put Lions Tests ahead of Super Rugby
Rugby:Australia are stepping up their planning for this summer’s British and Irish Lions Tour, with Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver prioritising victory in the three-Test series over the needs of the country’s five Super Rugby franchises.
In a move that is sure to prove controversial in the provincial ranks, Pulver is planning to pull Wallabies players out of Super Rugby three weeks before the first Test against the Lions in Brisbane on June 22nd.
Although Pulver is yet to formalise an agreement with the five clubs, he all but confirmed Wallabies coach Robbie Deans (above) will be given three full weeks to prepare his squad.
“Clearly Robbie’s going to get all the support he needs in terms of getting that group together, ideally three weeks ahead of that first game,” Pulver said at a press conference to mark the 100-day countdown to the Lions Tour at Sydney airport.
“I’ve got to get back and speak with the various Super Rugby franchises over the next couple of days but we’ll be getting an announcement out imminently.
“I’m not sure that we’ll get a consensus view . . . clearly they want to have their players available for every Super Rugby game.
“But my priority is that Robbie has the right preparation in order to make sure we beat the Lions.”
The proposed plan could potentially cost one or more Australian team a spot in the Super Rugby play-offs.