The Fifa under-20 World Cup football tournament set down for New Zealand in 2015 will impact on the Super Rugby competition but rugby and football authorities are working to minimise any disruption.
Seven New Zealand venues - including five regular rugby grounds in Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington, New Plymouth and Hamilton - will host World Cup games from May 30 to June 20, 2015.
New Zealand Rugby Union general manager of strategic relationships and planning Nigel Cass said the NZRU had been working with Sanzar and the Fifa tournament local organising committee for some time ''to understand how it will affect'' Super rugby in 2015, ''particularly as there is no June break that year''.
''At an early stage we requested the tournament not be held during the knockout rounds, but during the regular part of the competition. Obviously there will be some impact.
''Exactly what that is, it is too early to say as we are now working on the draw for 2015 and trying to achieve the best possible result.''
Cass said the football organisers had been ''helpful in trying to accommodate our needs, and likewise we have been conscious of their needs to deliver a world class tournament''.
The Super 15 has taken a break in June for the last two years while All Black tests are being played. But 2015 is a Rugby World Cup year and the international programme is generally scaled back.
Major Fifa tournaments generally have to be staged in the May to July period, the off-season for major club competitions in the northern hemisphere. Fifa rules require World Cup stadia to be available for exclusive use 10 days before the tournament.
Fairfax Media understands the local organising committee and rugby authorities are working together to see if a comprise can be reached in some cases. But Auckland's Eden Park is the only major New Zealand rugby venue not targeted for the football World Cup tournament.
North Harbour Stadium will host a semifinal and final and AMI Stadium (Christchurch), Forsyth Barr (Dunedin), Westpac Stadium (Wellington), Yarrow Stadium (New Plymouth) and Waikato Stadium will all host multiple matches.
Whangarei is the seventh venue. Nelson (Trafalgar Park) and Napier (McLean Park) missed out on hosting rights for the football tournament, but could potentially be in line to host Super rugby matches instead.
All Super rugby franchises do have an alternate venue within their catchment areas.
The Highlanders could use Rugby Park in Invercargill while the Crusaders could go to Trafalgar Park in Nelson or Alpine Energy Stadium in Timaru.
The Hurricanes can go to Napier or Palmerston North, the Chiefs have the option of Rotorua's International Stadium or Baypark Stadium in Mount Maunganui while Eden Park is still available for the Blues.
- © Fairfax NZ News