Super Rugby Pacific: Tournament’s future confirmed until 2030 as NZR and RA announce joint venture

Super Rugby Pacific: Crusaders celebrate winning the inaugural title. Credit: Alamy
Super Rugby Pacific: Crusaders celebrate winning the inaugural title. Credit: Alamy

Super Rugby Pacific’s future has been secured until 2030 after an announcement of a new joint-venture agreement between New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and Rugby Australia (RA) in Sydney.

Securing the competition for several more years is a massive moment, particularly for the Pacific regions that showed such impressive growth in the inaugural Super Rugby Pacific.

New era

NZR chief Mark Robinson and RA chief Andy Marinos have expressed their excitement around the commitment to the tournament, with the former believing the news is a “new era” for Pacific rugby.

“This long-term agreement provides certainty for players, coaches, fans, sponsors and broadcast partners and it solidifies our joint commitment to ensuring DHL Super Rugby Pacific is the most entertaining, innovative, and fan-focused cross-border club competition in the world,” said Robinson.

“We charted a new path with the introduction of Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua this year, and having all 91 games played in regional time zones, believe we have entered an exciting new era for rugby in the Pacific region.”

Marinos shared Robinson’s sentiment and welcomed the stability offered by the long-term partnership.

“Today marks the dawn of a new era of Super Rugby within our region. Securing this long-term partnership provides stability and continuity that the competition and Super Rugby clubs need to enable rugby to grow in stature and importance across the region,” he said.

New governance model

The news of the tournament’s extension comes with a new governance model that includes a nine-person board with an independent chair, four independent directors and representation from RA, NZR, Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA) and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZPRA).

The board’s purpose is to ensure fair and unbiased governance of the game, resulting in a more fair and consistently managed tournament.

Marinos confirmed the format will remain the same but claims the competition will always strive to be innovative.

“RA and NZR are committed to the development of the most exciting form of rugby in the world, through trialling and implementing new rules, new ways of engaging fans or broadcast innovations with our partners,” he added.

“The partnership will enable our players, clubs and partners to plan ahead with certainty in a competition that we are sure will feature some of the best rugby in the world.”

One of the new mandates is to develop the women’s competition alongside the current tournament.

“We saw the quality of women’s rugby throughout the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and while it is not a case of copy and paste with the men’s structure in DHL Super Rugby Pacific, we believe there are enormous opportunities to build a world class cross border professional women’s club competition in the Pacific region,” Robinson said.

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