Taranaki asked for further Super15 info

The Taranaki Rugby Union have been asked to provide further information after they impressed the New Zealand Rugby Union with their bid to be named as the new Super 15 team when Super Rugby expands in 2011.


The NZRU appeared to be luke warm to the idea of a sixth franchise in New Zealand when expressions of interest were lodged by Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay last month and said that a bid would need to be a compelling one for it to be put forward to SANZAR, the governing body for the TriNations and Super Rugby tournaments.


TRU chief executive Mark Robinson presented their proposal to the NZRU at a meeting in Wellington last Friday and has now been asked to provide further detail.


Taranaki’s bid has the backing of Venture Taranaki, the region’s development agency, and the New Plymouth District Council.


Former Taranaki man Stephen Jennings, one of New Zealand’s richest men who runs Moscow-based global investment bank Renaissance Capitals, has also been linked to the Super 15 bid.


The NZRU will have a more detailed look at Taranaki’s proposal next week and then decide if it should be forwarded to SANZAR.


Hawke’s Bay have since withdrawn their expression of interest saying the seven day deadline was not long enough to present a professional business case, although they remain committed to the Super 15 concept.


Chief executive Mike Bishop said when the union applied for top tier status in the provincial Air New Zealand Cup four years ago it took months and cost NZ$150,000 to put together.


“We are talking about something in the vicinity of NZ$8-12 million business case here and that’s not something I would be prepared to try and put together in seven days,” he told Radio Sport.


In Australia there are three parties from Victoria, two from Queensland and one from Western Sydney interested in joining the Super 15 and the South African Rugby Union have already forwarded on the Port Elizabeth-based Southern Kings’ proposal to Sanzar who will consider final bid documents in late September and make their decision by late October.

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