Rugby: Sir John Kirwan urges World Rugby to provide global lifeline

World Rugby needs to open up its substantial coffers and dig in to help rescue the game, says All Blacks great Sir John Kirwan.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought global rugby to a standstilland national organisations are struggling to mitigate the financial fallout of indefinitely suspended seasons.

Over the last week, drastic measures have been taken by several unions to limit the damage, including Rugby Australia cutting 75 percent of its staff and USA Rugby filing for bankruptcy.

NZ Rugby hasn't been spared, cutting staff wages by 20 percent.

Kirwan doesn't believe the sport's international governing body is doing enough to support its unions and has called on World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont to step up to the plate.

"I believe Bill Beaumont needs to come out with a package to help our game survive," Kirwan told Sky Sport's The Breakdown. 

"They have money that is used to build the game, but right now, we're in survival mode and that money needs to be used to help the game survive." 

Profits made from the Rugby World Cup in Japan last year need to be funnelled back into the game to help it avoid falling further into turmoil, Kirwan added.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont. Photo credit: Getty

"I'm hoping soon Bill's not going to say all the fluffy stuff, but he's going to say, 'here's a cheque for everyone to help us through this bad time'."

While Beaumont couldn't provide any details, he assured national unions that World Rugby would reach out to determine what support was necessary.

"I can assure you that World Rugby - and myself, as chairman - we will be working extremely hard to try and get harmony between all countries, clubs, leagues etc,"Beaumont told The Breakdown.  

"When we come out of this, we will hopefully be in a strong position and all pulling in the same direction."

NZ Rugby's $250,000 grant for all Kiwi Super Rugby franchises, announced Thursday, was an initiative to ensure they'd be able to stay afloat, until the competition gets the green light to continue.

Chief executive Mark Robinson confirmed he was already engaged in discussions with World Rugby about adjusting the test calendar to allow the completion of Super Rugby and other such competitions.

"They've come out to all the national unions, talking about, not only what funding support might look like, but also what competition formats might look like in international windows," said Robinson.