The Council of the International Rugby Board has given unanimous support to the proposal for a match between the North and South Hemispheres to be played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday, November 30th.

The match, which will be played biennially, and from which the proceeds will be used to assist a selected number of financially disadvantaged countries, will follow the Autumn Internationals. It is anticipated that all the world’s leading players will take part.

John O’Neill, Managing Director/CEO of the Australian Rugby Union said, ‘This initiative will help to re-establish and rejuvenate the game amongst proud rugby communities like Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Romania, and help to create a much more competitive structure at the elite level’.

Rian Oberholzer, Managing Director of South African Rugby added, ‘This represents a unique opportunity for the rugby community to unite and assist those countries experiencing financial difficulty.’

Dr Syd Millar, former Irish and British Lions prop forward, and Chairman of the IRB Technical Committee will be responsible for appointing the coaches of the two teams and Michael Lynagh, newly appointed to the IRB in a development role, will act as Match Manager.

Following the match in Cardiff, the IRB will hold the Annual International Awards Ceremony at which the outstanding achievements of the rugby year, both on and off the field, will be recognised.

International Matches and Tours

It was confirmed that England’s tour to the Pacific Islands scheduled for this summer has been cancelled and will be replaced by a tour to Argentina with one test match being played.

It was also confirmed that proposals for a composite Pacific Islands team to play matches which clash with pre-determined tours and Rugby World Cup qualifying matches would not be approved.

However, consideration would be given to the idea of such a team going on tour once every four years. The IRB remains committed to assisting the Pacific Islands and to providing a fund for developing a co-ordinated strategic plan through initiatives such as the North v South match.

It is also planned that the IRB Chairman, Vernon Pugh Q.C., and Geoff Evans, Development Manager, will visit the Island Unions in the near future to begin the process of monitoring their playing and financial status.

In the interests of player welfare at the elite level, it is recommended that there should be a minimum eight week break. It was recognised that Unions would require to apply different patterns of rest periods in order to comply with this requirement, although it was expected that, of the eight week break, one break should be at least four clear weeks in length and that no break should be less than two weeks.

For more details contact:

International Rugby Board
Chris Rea – Communications Manager
Tel: +353 1 662 5444
Fax: +353 1676 9334
E-mail: crea@irb.ie
Website: http://www.irb.org