KEO News Wire

NZR aiming to launch own competition for Super Rugby teams, will work with RA

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is aiming to establish a new competition for its Super Rugby teams and wants to work with Rugby Australia (RA).

After a three-month review, known as Aratipu, NZR said on Friday it was looking to launch a new competition involving eight to 10 teams.

The Crusaders, Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes and Highlanders are set to have their licences confirmed and a team from the Pacific nations would be welcomed, while the expressions of interest process could be completed by the end of August.

“Coming on the back of COVID-19 and its impact on future competitions, the NZR board has committed to establishing a new professional team competition in 2021. We have also been heartened by the success of Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa,” NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said.

“The focus is now on confirming the licenses for New Zealand’s five current Super Rugby clubs and that work is now underway. We have highly valued the partnership with these five clubs over the last 25 years of the competition and want that to continue.

“There is a huge desire to have a Pasifika team involved which we think will be massive for the competition, popular with fans and is a priority for us. As we know, our Pacific nations and Pasifika players in New Zealand have added so much to the rich history of rugby in Oceania and our game here in New Zealand. To have a team that would provide an additional pathway for Pasifika players to perform on the world stage would be hugely exciting.

“We will also be working with Rugby Australia to seek expressions of interest from their current Super clubs and other interested parties to join the competition and that work will begin in earnest. We are excited and interested to see what our Australian neighbours will bring to this competition.”

New Zealand and Australia each launched their own domestic Super Rugby competitions after the initial tournament was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 Super Rugby season started with teams from five countries – New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Japan and Argentina.

In a statement, RA said it would be “working constructively with New Zealand Rugby in the coming weeks”.

“Due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rugby Australia recognises that there is a need to review the sustainability and practicality of the current Super Rugby competition and consider alternative models that are in the best interests of Australian rugby from 2021 and beyond,” the statement read. News wire is powered by opta

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