Wellington - New Zealand rugby boss Steve Tew confirmed on Thursday the national union
will post a "significant" surplus when its presents its 2012 accounts to
the annual meeting.
According to the stuff.co.nz website, it was no wonder Tew was in a decidedly chipper mood on Thursday as he
spoke to the media following the NZRU's February board meeting.
Never mind the continued exodus of All Black-level talent to
offshore contracts, never mind the frustrations of ongoing negotiations
with France over a midweek match against the Blues during their June
tour, and never mind the enforced moratorium on the whole Zac Guildford
Tew has a healthy profit to report for the 2012 financial year, and in anyone's books that's a pretty satisfying scenario.
"The end-of year result is significantly better than the one we
budgeted for," said Tew. "There will be substantial surplus, obviously
aided by the fact we brought AIG into the team during the year. But
there are other improvements on both the income and cost management
Asked if the surplus was in the "multi-millions", Tew said: "We have
posted a significantly improved financial return for the year than what
we budgeted, which was basically break-even.
"We are talking a significant seven-figure number."
The NZRU chief executive also confirmed that the reported midweek
fixture between the touring French team and the Blues was likely to go
ahead on the Tuesday following the opening test in Auckland.
"We're in conversations with the French, and pretty confident [of
the game going ahead]," said Tew. "But as is often the case it takes a
bit of time to nail the detail. That story out of France is a bit
premature but we are working towards it and would like to be able to
confirm it in the next week or two."
Tew said the NZRU had always been open to midweek games from touring
teams, and the ball had been in their court to show interest.
In this case the French are keen, but there is some tricky detail to
hammer out, including who pays the costs of additional players
required, and how proceeds from the game are split.
Tew also confirmed he had been "assured" by the French they would
have their full-strength team in New Zealand for the opening test,
though there was a likelihood they would be coming out in two waves with
the French final running close to the June window.
But the NZRU boss would not go as far as to confirm that Super Rugby
franchises would also provide midweek opposition for the Lions in 2017.
"It's too early to think about how we'll run the Lions tour. We'll
wait and see how 2013 works in Australia before we make any decisions."
Tew also made it clear the NZRU were less than content with the way
some senior players were communicating their intentions to take up
lucrative offshore deals. In recent weeks Richard Kahui and Craig Clarke
have confirmed their departures, while Blues midfielder Rene Ranger is
reported to have agreed to a deal to join Montpellier in France.
Other All Black-level players are also said to be close to confirming similar moves.
"It's fair to say the player market has reignited a little and
largely out of Japan," said Tew. "Richard's situation was discussed some
time ago. We would have preferred to have had a more in-depth
conversation with his people than we were offered.
"Our contract people work very hard to ensure we're on the front
foot with regards to renewals. We're already talking to people whose
contracts don't expire till next year.
"But once in a while we have people for whatever reason who go off
and make some decisions without a wider discussion with either our
contract group or our All Black coaches, and Kahui was definitely one of
Tew also clarified the situation around Crusaders wing Guildford who
is essentially in limbo while he deals with his drinking problems.
"As far as we know he's still receiving treatment and there's not
much more we can do till that's over. He's provided us with a medical
certificate that says he unfit to work because he's ill.
"On that basis under the collective we can't deal with the
disciplinary process we'd like to conduct. But the moment he's fit to go
through that process we will run it."
Tew also said discussions had yet to be initiated around extending
Steve Hansen's contract as All Black coach, with the review process
still being completed.
"We are very pleased with the smooth transition Steve and his new
team have made but till we finish that process we wouldn't contemplate
discussing an extension in public."