Kiwi giants boosted by private sector

Private investors will be involved in the management of the Crusaders and Hurricanes Super Rugby franchises in 2013.

The New Zealand Rugby Union has announced that two groups, involving a mix of provincial unions and private investors, will manage the two teams after expressions of interest were sought for the licences a year ago.

The New Zealand Herald reports that the licence to manage the Hurricanes has been awarded to a Wellington group including Wellington Rugby, former Hurricanes directors Paul Collins and Liz Dawson, and Morgan’s Welnix, the ownership group of the Wellington Phoenix football team. The license has been awarded for a period of three years with a right of renewal for five more years.

The NZRU and a Crusaders region consortium have agreed in principle to a licence arrangement to operate the Canterbury franchise. A final contract is expected to be signed within a month.

‘These new arrangements are a step forward in terms of putting Super Rugby on a stronger financial footing to ensure the game at the professional level is better placed to prosper and deliver for its fans,’ said NZRU chief executive Steve Tew.

The Herald also revealed that the Blues’ options are being considered both regionally and internationally and the franchise required more time to consolidate a final bid.

An initial expression of interest was received for the Chiefs, although the Super Rugby champions have not been able to finalise a bid.

The NZRU will retain full ownership of the franchises, the contracting process and coaching appointments. Investors will get to select, market and manage their team as well as lobby for players outside New Zealand if that works in tandem with the sport’s governing body.