England will not give All Blacks half share of Twickenham gate

England are negotiating to bring the All Blacks to Twickenham in November but will not split expected £8m gate receipts 50-50 with the three times World Cup winners.

Standard Sport understands talks are taking place for a possible fixture on November 4 when the Barbarians were scheduled to use the stadium to take on one of the Southern Hemisphere teams,however, if the All Blacks are available then England want to take over the date to stage the match between the top two teams in the sport. If England beat Ireland on Saturday in Dublin they will replace New Zealand as world record holders for the longest unbeaten run which they both hold on 18.

England are not due meet New Zealand until 2018 and an earlier meeting would generate world wide interest and potentially £12m for the Rugby Football Union from gate receipts, sponsorship and hospitality. New Zealand want a slice of that action and while it is understood they normally receive £1.5m for playing at Twickenham, they want a bigger share of the money.

However, that will not be a 50-50 split as the RFU will have to hand over a considerable fee to the Premiership rugby clubs who would have to release their players a week earlier than has been agreed under the current deal. A match with New Zealand would add an extra test match to the November series which is scheduled to be just three games and the clubs could demand a much bigger compensation payment given the arrival of the World’s No1 team to take on the No2 side in the rankings.

Steve Tew, the NZRFU chief executive and Ian Ritchie, his opposite number at the RFU, have discussed a possible match in November but those talks are at an early stage and the financial aspect of the game everyone in rugby wants to see will need to be thrashed out as a matter of urgency.

It is highly unlikely the RFU will be held to ransom by New Zealand who are going to receive a major financial windfall this summer thanks to the ten match tour by the British and Irish Lions. New Zealand rugby needs to find new financial streams to help keep their top players are home and receiving multi million pound payments for taking the All Blacks to Europe has always been seen as their main cash cow.

Tew has stated that an extra November fixture was “unikely” but the RFU were more positive today stating:”We are scheduled to play New Zealand in 2018 and if an opportunity came up to play them before then we would pursue it.”

Tew told the Daily Mail;” We’re playing England next year. We look forward to it.” When pressed on whether the next encounter could happen this year, he added: “Not as our season is currently programmed, no. It’s highly unlikely at this stage.

“We’ve got a very important series against the British and Irish Lions and that’s a primary focus for us. We’re still working on finalising our programme. We’ve already got Scotland, France and Wales on the end-of-year tour.There’s been a gap between the All Blacks playing England but for a period of time we had five Tests in three years. It’s part of the cycle we agreed to way back in 2011.”

The fact is that opportunity has already risen and is being pursued by the RFU and NZRFU makes it highly like the test match will go ahead in November.

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as seen in Evening Standard

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