United Oz Super Rugby team?
Cape Town - With talks of proposals to shift the current Super Rugby format well underway, news from Australia is that the Waratahs, Reds and Rebels are considering merging to form a unified coastal team.
Sportsbusiness.com's website reports that the news agency said the proposal is designed to create an east coast
rugby powerhouse and will be presented to the Australian Rugby Union
(ARU) at a board meeting on February 24.
Under what would be the biggest
reform to the structure of rugby in Australia since the game turned
professional, the Waratahs, Queensland and Melbourne would hand over
limited control to the ARU but retain ownership of assets.
Fairfax Media said the proposal, while still in the very early stages
of negotiations, aims to pool the three unions’ assets and create a
more powerful player in the Australian sporting landscape.
would be akin to the centralised model in New Zealand, where the
country’s five Super Rugby teams maintain control over their own
administrative and membership operations but hand control to the NZ
Rugby Union (NZRU) on issues including high performance.
The ARU already controls the Rebels, after the club’s founding backer
Harold Mitchell ended his funding last year.
New South Wales and
Queensland, the two biggest rugby markets in the country, are said to
favour the proposal.
While he would not comment directly on talk of a
merger, ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said the union is in regular
talks with Super Rugby bosses over future plans.
“I have made no secret
of our financial challenges at an administrative level,” he said.
nothing is not an option and our discussions within the Australian
rugby community will continue.”
Fairfax added that Canberra’s Brumbies and Perth’s Western Force are
believed to have opted out of the proposed collaboration at this stage
but have not ruled out joining the new entity in the future.