All Blacks considering code clash against Kangaroos

Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu made up one of the All Blacks' most dynamic duos. David Rogers/Getty Images

New Zealand Rugby [NZR] said on Thursday it is interested in a proposal that would see the All Blacks take on Australia's Kangaroos in a 'union vs. league' clash.

The match has been mooted for December 5 as both codes look to generate much-needed revenue in the wake of the coronavirus shutdown.

"We have had an approach," NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson told reporters on a conference call on Thursday. "We're interested in learning more and we will work that through and go through the proper process of making a decision if it has got merit to go further."

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga told Australian media earlier on Thursday he was keen on the idea for the game, which would involve 14-players on each team.

The Daily Telegraph has reported the game could have more a of league feel with lineouts to be scrapped, the scrum to be non-contestable, league-style set-downs to avoid injury to untrained Kangaroos forwards, while there will be no play-the-ball as in league. Instead the ruck-and-maul as witnessed in union will take place, with the tackled player to place the ball for the game to continue.

Teams will have eight tackles before they must kick or face a turnover, while a kick out on the full or a kick which finds touch will result in a scrum.

Tries will be worth four points, with the ability to earn an extra point if the ball is dotted down under the posts.All penalties or conversions will be worth two points.

"We are in serious negotiations," Meninga told the Courier Mail newspaper. "This would take the Kangaroos to the world. There will be global recognition.

"The best from our game versus the best from the New Zealand game ... let's do it."

While NZR was interested in the idea, Robinson said it was one of many opportunities presented to his organisation as they seek to recoup lost revenue following the COVID-19 shutdown and with international rugby in doubt for the rest of the year.

Robinson added that the priority was to get the All Blacks playing rugby union tests but it was too early to determine how the Bledisloe Cup tests against the Wallabies or the southern hemisphere's Rugby Championship would be played out.

"We're not still not able to finalise anything yet," he said. "There are still a lot of issues around a trans-Tasman bubble, the border and quarantine."