Melbourne rugby officials believe they have all the ingredients to house a successful Super Rugby franchise.
With the Super Rugby expansion taking place from 2011, the extra team will join the Australian conference. South Africa’s Southern Kings believe they have a chance, but realistically the team will be from Melbourne, the Gold Coast, or west Sydney.
Melbourne Rugby Union Football Club representative Barry Bowler says the city has the players, support base as well the infrastructure to be a success. Bowler pointed to the local rugby league side as an example.
‘Rugby league has always been a much smaller competition [here],’ Bowler told rugbyheaven.com.au. ‘The number of clubs have never been as great, so if you look how successful the Storm’s been with such a small base then a Melbourne rugby side would easily be as successful in its first year.
‘They’ve done very well the Melbourne Storm and we’re happy to have them, but all our premier-division clubs have to have three senior teams and a colts team, and two rugby pitches, so our infrastructure and player base is much stronger. The VRU is celebrating its 100th year, which shows rugby has a strong foothold in Victoria and Melbourne,’ he added.
The two teams would share a ground, dubbed a ‘mini Suncorp Stadium’, and Bowler says it will provide exemplary facilities for fans and players.
‘They get 15,000 or so on a regular basis to Melbourne Storm games, which is very good considering rugby league’s standing on a club basis in Victoria,’ he said.
‘A lot of those people would be rugby fans who want to watch a rugby-type game, so there’ll be lots of support from them, too. And there’s quite a bit of corporate support here for rugby.’