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Thread: NZ Rugby signals hard road ahead for Moana Pasifika, Fiji bids

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    NZ Rugby signals hard road ahead for Moana Pasifika, Fiji bids

    Cold feet?

    Super Rugby: NZ Rugby signals hard road ahead for Moana Pasifika, Fiji bids

    Paul Cully
    17:09, Dec 10 2020

    The feelgood factor from the Moana Pasfika v Māori All Blacks game has not lasted long, with New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson indicating that “a lot of work” needed to be done before Moana Pasifika and/or Fiji are included in Super Rugby in 2022.

    The NZ Rugby board met on Wednesday to discuss a range of issues, including the future of Super Rugby, and Robinson's update to the media on Thursday was something of a reality check for those expecting the two potential new Super Rugby sides to be swiftly given the green light.

    "There's a lot of work still to go in that area," Robinson said.

    “We're very committed to doing our absolute best to see if we can make those teams a reality, but there's a huge amount of work to be done, and we're all very aware about the potential challenges in this area to make that happen.

    “But it's certainly something we're very committed to investing a lot of time and energy of our people into making sure we can give it the best shot to get it going.”

    NZ Rugby's unwillingness to give anything like a guarantee of inclusion will raise te alert levels of those involved in Pasifika rugby, who were already desperately disappointed that the Moana Pasifika side could not be included in next year's competition.

    But it also reflects the complexity of the task at hand, with Robinson suggesting that playing rosters and facilities were only still at the "potential” stage.

    “For [Super Rugby] 2022 we had an update at the board on what the competition shape is starting to look like,” Robinson said.

    "Obviously, there's a lot of speculation and interest in potentially in new teams being added to that competition.

    “So, we provided an update of where both of those preferred partners [Moana Pasifika and Fiji] are getting to, in terms of their feasibility work, their business modelling, different ideas they've got around how they will be structured...[and] potential rosters and potential facilities.”

    The brutal reality for Moana Pasifika is that many of the players involved in the game against the Māori All Blacks are already contracted to Super Rugby teams, who have little desire to see their own rosters weakened.

    Rising stars such as Highlanders No 9 Folau Fakatava might also entertain All Blacks ambitions, and see their future in black rather than the red, blue and white of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji.

    There is no shortage of coaching talent available but putting together a playing list that is immediately competitive will be a major challenge, with one prominent Super Rugby source telling Stuff that they feared one-sided games against a battling Pasifika side could hurt the reputation of the competition.

    On the other side of the argument, NZRPA CEO Rob Nchol has told Stuff that the Pasifika talent is there to set up a credible outfit in 2022.

    Stuff has also been told that Fiji's failed bid for Super Rugby inclusion in 2018 was based on a slickly produced document that masked some underlying weaknesses.

    There were concerns about funding - Super Rugby sides currently chew through about $10 million a year - the cost of broadcasting games from Fiji and the willingness of star Fijian players to give up significant deals in Europe to come home to the islands.

    The Fijian Drua side was successful in Australia's National Rugby Championship but it was thought it could take at least two years to get up to speed in Super Rugby.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/...fika-fiji-bids

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    Bring on GRR

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    Japan and the Pacific Islands for Aussie Super 9's!

    Let's have one of these in WA! Click this link: Saitama Super Arena - New Perth Stadium?

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    NZ demonstrating once again that talk is cheap in rugby.

    IMO, GRR makes more sense for the PI teams anyway, where they will be both more competitive and encouraged to be so. It is a more sensible place for Japanese teams too, post the Top League season.

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