Aussie Super 15 talks stall in Melbourne

The Australian Rugby Union, citing “unresolved issues” among the groups it wants to form a unified bid for a Melbourne club in the expanded Super 15 tournament, said it has deferred board-level discussion on the issue.


“Unfortunately, there remain unresolved issues among the three parties ARU wants to bring together to ensure Melbourne has an unbeatable case to win the SANZAR nomination as the next Super rugby side from 2011,” the ARU said in a statement Tuesday.


It said it hoped the delay would provide “additional time to find a more harmonious way forward” before the Sept. 11 board meeting.


There have been reports of infighting among the three groups that entered bids to bring Super Rugby to Melbourne, including between a private group and Victoria state’s established rugby union.


The ARU selected Melbourne as the best venue for the new club – insisting the three bids work together – ahead of venues ranging from the Gold and Sunshine Coasts in Queensland state to western Sydney.


A South African group, based in Port Elizabeth, the Southern Kings are also bidding for the new club.


SANZAR, which organizes the Super Rugby competition and TriNations tournaments involving South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, expects formal bids to include full details of each proposed franchise’s player base, facilities and financial organization.


The Super 15 competition will be played in three regional conferences of five teams in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa beginning in 2011.


The 15th team will be assigned to the Australian conference, regardless of which country it comes from. Australia has four clubs in the existing Super14 competition, while South Africa and New Zealand each have five.


“The key factor not to be overlooked is that Australia has a competitor … in the form of the South African Rugby Union-supported Southern Kings,” the ARU statement said.


“ARU will continue to work towards the most compelling bid on behalf of Australia with a full submission to be presented to SANZAR later this month.”

 

SANZAR are expected to name the licence holder for the Super 15 team before the end of October.

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