The possibility of an All Blacks-Kangaroos cross-code rugby clash has taken a fatal blow, with several NRL clubs reportedly not the slightest bit interested.
The potentially historic and lucrative hybrid match between the international heavyweights of their respective codes got fresh impetus last month, when New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson revealed the All Blacks were in talks about it.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported this week the Australian Rugby League Commission will consider the concept and the game has the backing of top NRL coaches Trent Robinson and Wayne Bennett.
The match would be a potential pay-per-view event with an $8m payday for the NRL - with the match set to take place in December at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, on the proviso the state remains free of Covid-19, the newspaper claimed.
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However, new reports from Australia have rubbished this.
According to Sydney's Daily Telegraph, club bosses told NRL interim CEO Andrew Abdo during a teleconference "to scuttle any plans" as there is "no appetite" for the match, despite the significant financial strain the league is currently experiencing from the pandemic.
One club boss reportedly went as far as saying "rugby need it more than us, so why would we even contemplate it?".
"None of us are interested in it and there is no interest in supporting it."
The NRL is believed to be facing massive cuts, including to its salary cap system. The Telegraph reports the NRL and the RLPA are "about $25 million apart when it comes to cost-cutting measures for the next three years".