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Super Rugby announces granting of conditional licences for Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua
Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua have this week been granted conditional Super Rugby licences by New Zealand Rugby (NZR) in a move that could see the teams competing in 2022.
In a significant step forward for Pacific Island rugby, the NZR Board’s decision to approve licences is a major step toward the two Pasifika teams joining the existing five Super Rugby Aotearoa franchises and Rugby Australia’s five Super Rugby sides.
While World Rugby last month pledged a $2.16 million annual package to offset costs, NZR said entry next year was still conditional on their final business plans and Rugby Australia’s support.
NZR board member and former Manu Samoa and All Blacks legend Sir Michael Jones said the announcement was a significant milestone, commenting “with the approval of licences, Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua can now forge ahead with the final stages of their business plans and crucially start to lock in their playing and coaching rosters for next season.”
Moana Pasifika steering committee co-Chair, and Chief Executive of the Pacific Business Trust, Pelenato Sakalia add “we are excited to finally be so close to bringing the dream to reality, but there is still hard work to do, and we cannot afford to miss the moment.
“This decision on a license enables Moana Pasifika to proceed with confidence and complete a number of financial obligations to sign off in the coming weeks, and formalize our player, coach, and staff recruitment.”
Rugby Australia said on Wednesday it was “encouraged by the announcement” and looked forward to formalising the 2022 competition once the licences had final approval.
Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Andy Marinos advised “we look forward to continuing our engagement with NZR on this process as we plan towards 2022.
“Once further conditions around the licences have been met, we look forward to formalising the composition of the teams in what will hopefully prove a new dawn for rugby in the region.”
NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson said it had confidence that Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua would be able to meet the conditions of the licence, which includes final sign-off on a sustainable business plan by 30th June.
Confirmation of the two licences comes five months after NZR confirmed that Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua were its preferred partners to explore the entry of Pasifika-linked teams in future professional competitions.
Moana Pasifika played for the first time last December, against the Maori All Blacks in Hamilton.
Established in 2017, in only their second year in the competition, Fijian Drua won Australia’s National Rugby Championship in 2018.
This year Australia and New Zealand are holding domestic Super Rugby competitions, with a five-week trans-Tasman crossover competition kicking off on 14th May.
12th April 2021 - Rugby Australia launches new Digital Coaching Hub
26th March 2021 - World Rugby to back Super Rugby involvement of two Pacific Island teams
19th March 2021 - World Rugby confirms Alan Gilpin in Chief Executive role
5th March 2021 - World Rugby announces plans for ‘condensed’ Sevens Series
23rd December 2020 - Rugby Australia appoints SANZAAR’s Andy Marinos as new Chief Executive
9th November 2020 - Report shows global rise in rugby interest through 2019
9th November 2020 - Rugby Australia announces $100 million broadcast deal with Nine Network
3rd November 2020 - Super Rugby’s Chiefs announce new ticketing partnership
2nd October 2020 - Super Rugby Aotearoa competition to return in 2021
10th March 2020 - ANZ Bank extends sponsorship of Fiji’s national stadium until 2022
11th October 2019 - Fijian team to join NSWRL competition for 2020 season
4th August 2019 - Samoa Government looks to develop new national stadium
8th July 2019 - XVI Pacific Games opens in Samoa
24th June 2016 - Fiji ready to host first ever Super Rugby fixture
13th November 2015 - SANZAR to stage Super Rugby fixture in Fiji
27th July 2015 - Samoa runs up $1.5 million deficit from hosting the All Blacks
20th August 2014 - New Zealand to contribute to the upgrade of Tonga’s Teufaiva Stadium
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