The Rugby Paper
Cardiff date worth £1.5m to All Blacks
THE All Blacks are finalising negotiations for a Test against Wales in Cardiff this year worth up to £1.5m for 80 minutes’ work.
The terms of the deal for a one-off match on October 30 will allow the dethroned world champions to clean up against the Six Nations winners as never before, provided fans are allowed back by then.
The New Zealand RFU can charge a straight match fee or a hefty cut of the commercial revenue because the proposed fixture falls outside the three-week autumn window for international matches as stipulated by World Rugby.
The All Blacks are also planning to cash in with another seven-figure earner as preparation for the Welsh game. They are understood to be close to confirming a missionary match against the American Eagles at the home of the Las Vegas Raiders NFL franchise in Nevada.
Sources say that fixture on October 23 and the one in Cardiff will be worth about £3m, subject to the lifting of Covid restrictions. The Eagles claim they will sell-out the brand new 65,000-seater stadium.
The cancellation of fixtures against England, Scotland and Wales last autumn left the home countries counting losses of £20m.
New Zealand, also hit by
the abandonment of their three-Test home series against Wales last summer, see the two October dates as a crucial opportunity to claw back some of the lost revenue.
They sold out Chicago’s Soldier Field on their last two appearances in America, famously conceding five tries and 40 points in losing to Ireland there in 2016, two years after thrashing the US 74-6 at the same venue.
Wales will consider a first home match against New Zealand in four years as a coup while resigned to the fact that the date on a club weekend will deprive them of their Englishbased players including Dan Biggar, Taulupe Faletau, Louis Rees-Zammit and Callum Sheedy.
The WRU have yet to announce their autumn series but The Rugby Paper can reveal that Wales have already scheduled home matches against South Africa for November 6, an unnamed opponent, possibly Argentina, the following week and Australia on November 20.
The All Blacks hope to be playing as many as 15 Tests this year, starting against Italy and Fiji this summer followed by the Rugby Championship. After America and Wales, they are due to play three more internationals during the autumn window, Italy in Rome, Ireland in Dublin and France in Paris.