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Alan Jones wants trans-Tasman rugby comp

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/04/2017 Warren Barnsley

As an Australian Super Rugby team faces the chop, Alan Jones has called for the country's provincial participation to be reduced to a trans-Tasman competition as part of major reforms to the game.

Lamenting a lack of grassroots growth highlighted by another weekend of domination by New Zealand Super Rugby rivals, the former Wallabies coach urged Australian Rugby Union to go back to the future.

Jones, who coached the Wallabies' 1984 grand slam-winning side, said the five-nation Super Rugby is too big, too expensive and had cost Australian teams their identity.

"They've (the ARU) presided over this stupid Super Rugby thing which seemingly wants to incorporate every country in the world," he told Fox Sports.

"When I coached Australia ... we had the two leading provincial rugby sides in the world. No one could beat Queensland and NSW.

"But (now) they don't rate a mention in terms of provincial strength. And that was the source of my Wallabies side.

"We've tried to change the model. There's a golden rule about sports. You never change the winning game. We varied the winning game and here we are, not winning."

In alarming signs for the Wallabies, losses by the Melbourne Rebels, Western Force, Queensland Reds and NSW Waratahs over the weekend helped New Zealand Super Rugby teams to an 11-0 win-loss record over Australian sides in 2017.

Jones said the expanded Super Rugby model was flawed and key to improvement was re-focusing attention to closer to home.

"The cost of transport alone, plane fares and hotels, is enough to break the Bank of England," he said.

"We should be playing provincial rugby, us and New Zealand, concentrate on our domestic rugby competition and rebuild Australian strength."

"We're not spending enough money on the schoolboy stuff, it's almost forgotten and unacknowledged, the club side is basically abandoned by Australian Rugby, the provincial stuff (Super Rugby) is awful.

"And by the time we get to the top, we're in trouble."

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