Brent Impey has resigned from his chair role at SANZAAR ©NZ Rugby

New Zealand Rugby (NZ Rugby) chairman Brent Impey, has resigned from the same post at SANZAAR, calling for change within the body and requesting that it looks for an independent figure instead.

He also stated that more tier-two nations join the organisation in the future too, with the current organisation formed of just South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.

Impey will continue his position at NZ Rugby and will vacate the chair of SANZAAR on December 31.

Due to COVID-19, SANZAAR has had a turbulent 2020, leading to calls from Impey and NZ Rugby to split up Super Rugby - a continental club competition featuring the four nations of SANZAAR and Japan.

The Rugby Championship schedule was also a contentious issue for NZ Rugby, with players from the nation unsure if they would be able to be reunited with their families for Christmas, but the competition was cancelled when South Africa withdrew.

Impey stressed that his resignation had nothing to do with the recent conflict and more to do with wanting an independent chair.

"In my view it is time for SANZAAR to make some fundamental changes which are best placed to happen under an independent chair," said Impey in an NZ Rugby statement.

"While there was no imperative for change it was appropriate to rotate the role, however I now believe that the role of chair of a national union as well as chair of SANZAAR is a conflict for any country.

"I also hold the view that SANZAAR should become membership based.

Argentina and New Zealand are two of the nations part of SANZAAR ©Getty Images
Argentina and New Zealand are two of the nations part of SANZAAR ©Getty Images

"The four country consensus model is outdated if we are looking to grow the game commercially and internationally. 

"A membership model would allow the group to act together on issues such as the global calendar, rules, regulations, governance, and mutual commercial interests. 

"Currently, the odds are heavily stacked against SANZAAR in its present form being able to affect change."

Impey also looked at potential additions from Europe and the Americas, believing the organisation could flourish under a bigger membership.

Japan, Romania, Georgia, the Pacific Island nations, as well as Brazil, Canada and Uruguay could all be potential new members under his new suggestion.

"Outside of Europe, there are opportunities to develop the game, so SANZAAR should be welcoming in those countries as members and creating competitions which are going to allow the likes of Japan and Fiji to progress to the next level," said Impey to reporters, according to Yahoo News.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's men's rugby team suffered an infamous 25-15 defeat to Argentina last week, the first loss to the South American side in the nation's history.