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All Blacks were right to threaten RWC boycott

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Article Published: Monday 28 November 2011

Australian Rugby Boss John O'Neill has said that New Zealand's threat to boycott the 2015 World Cup was necessary to put the top rugby nations' "angst" over lost revenues into the public domain.

The Australian Rugby Union are expected to post a USD 7.80 million loss for the 2011 year as they Rugby World Cup created a USD 15 million hole in their budget according to O'Neill.

Ealier this year New Zealand Rugby Union chief Steve Tew said that they Rugby World Cup would create a loss of more than NZ$13 million ($9.65 million) which could force the All Blacks to boycott the Rugby World Cup.

As there are almost four full years before England host the 2015 O'Neill defended Tew's stance and said that it was not premature.

"I don't think so... what hadn't been in the public arena was how much angst and aggravation there had been behind the scenes," he told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

"It just hadn't arrived in the public arena.

"So, a fair bit of it was born out of frustration. And probably with all the rugby world media (in attendance) it probably wasn't a bad time to say it straight up, particularly coming from the New Zealand Rugby Union. "

"The All Blacks went on and won the title."

"You couldn't foresee a World Cup happening without the All Blacks, indeed without the Wallabies or the Springboks."

The problem lies within the IRB's strict rules as they prevent all team advertising and sponsorship that the IRB have not sold and the staging of the Rugby World Cup also means that teams cannot hold their regular test matches which prevents teams from showcasing their regular sponsors.

After New Zealand issued their withdrawal threat the IRB issued a statement saying that they were committed to negotiating with teams to address financial issues and then IRB chief executive Mike Miller went on to state that all teams are "replaceable".

"One of the reasons why the Wallabies are over there playing two games now is to reduce the deficit," O'Neill said in reference to the Wallabies two-match European tour against the invitational Barbarians and Wales.

O'Neill said that a meeting had been setup between the bosses of the 10 top rugby nations and the IRB before Christmas but that it had been pushed back to February.

"We've certainly had an indication that our concerns are being taken seriously," O'Neill said.

"Sitting here today we don't have an answer but we expect to get one."

"There's an acceptance certainly by the 10 major nations that the formula is too much of a burden.

"I think we'll get a sympathetic outcome and so I don't want to be suggesting any boycotts or anything like that. I've got faith that we'll get a resolution."

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