Melbourne Super15 bid takes a knock but leads

Melbourne’s chances of securing the 15th place in Sanzar’s Super 15 rugby competition took a knock after the Australian Rugby Union took over the fight on the city’s behalf when a leading bidder withdrew.


The VicSuper15 consortium which included mining magnate Kevin Maloney pulled out of the bid because of dissatisfaction with the way the Australian Rugby Union was handling the bid process.


Even though the Melbourne bid has taken a big knock it is understood that the ARU will provide backing for the team and this means that the bid still edges the rival bid from South Africa.


According to a report in the Australian Newspaper, the VicSuper15 directors will not invest in the new private ownership model to be created by the ARU for the team.


The governing body has taken over the bid but an ARU spokesman dismissed a report the franchise would be headed by senior officials Matt Carroll and David Nucifora, as chief executive and coach respectively.


The Victorian bid will compete with South Africa’s Southern Kings, from the Eastern Cape region, for the spot in the news extended SANZAR competition.


SA Rugby and the Southern Kings are confident they have done all that is possible to have the Kings included in the competition.


The Southern Kings’ submission to Sanzar predicts an average crowd of 24 000 per match and the budget for player recruitment is in the middle of the range of SA teams and that the advantages of the new stadium in Port Elizabeth are being highlighted.


The new Nelson Mandela Bay stadium was opened when the Southern Kings played the British and Irish Lions in June.


The major stumbling block for the Southern Kings is that whoever wins the bid for the Super 15 team will play out of a five-team Australian conference. This gives Melbourne the inside running due to financial and logistical reasons.

 

If the Southern Kings win the bid they would have to play all of the teams in the Australian conference. This would create huge costs for travel and is in contrast to the home derby concept that the Super 15 format is built upon.

Both the ARU and South African Rugby Union will present their bids to SANZAR on October 21 before a decision is made between Melbourne or the Eastern Cape’s Southern Kings for admission to the Super 15.

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