Melbourne Super bid hits trouble
September 24, 2009
Digby Ioane is hopeful of a quick return to the international setup
© Getty Images
- Melbourne's bid to host the 15th franchise in the expanded Super Rugby competition has taken a hit with the news that bidding party Vic Super 15 has withdrawn from the process.
At one time the group were the preferred consortium of the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) but they have since pulled their support due to wrangling over the venture with the Victoria Rugby Union (VRU). The ARU will now step in in order to help create a sustainable model for the bid, which is set to go up against the South African franchise, the Southern Kings, for SANZAR approval on October 21.
"To date there has been significant conflict of interest in the bidding process as a result of the VRU's position of supporting only one party and not being prepared to establish a separation between commercial and community rugby in line with ARU policy," said a Vic Super 15 statement. "Throughout the process, Vic Super 15 has avoided public comment to minimise harm to the bid and as part of a requirement under the terms agreed between
Vic Super 15 and ARU.
"To signal its dissatisfaction with the handling of the bid process and to avoid a perception of continuing conflict by the VRU, Vic Super 15 has now formally withdrawn from the process."
- Digby Ioane is hoping for a quick return to the international stage after undergoing a full shoulder reconstruction.
The versatile Reds back, who currently has four caps, will begin contact work next week with an eye on Australia's Grand Slam tour of the Home Unions, which kicks off against England at Twickenham on November 7.
"It will all come down to the coach and his selectors, I have to be selected first, but I think it will be sweet," Ioane told AAP. "My shoulder is coming along well and I start with contact next week and I should be sweet for that."
- Long-time Leicester target Nicolas Jeanjean has joined Top 14 side Brive on a one-year deal. The French international fullback spent the summer on trial with the Tigers, but failed to agree personal terms at Welford Road.
- Queensland Reds have signed Australian Sevens scrum-half Richard Kingi on an academy contract for the 2010 Super 14. Kingi made his debut for the struggling franchise against the Crusaders in the 2009 competition.
- Clermont Auvergne lock Julien Pierre has been diagnosed with malaria following an off-season holiday. The French international has begun fitness work after his illness baffled doctors but he will not be fit to play until December.
- The Golden Lions will finish their Currie Cup campaign without scrum-half Jano Vermaak, who will undergo ankle surgery of Friday. Vermaak will likely be sidelined for four months, ending any hopes he may have had of a Springbok call-up for the November tour.
- The Australian Rugby Union have announced a four-year agreement with sports apparel company KooGa that will see the launch of a new Wallabies shirt early next year. The new deal brings an end to the ARU's ten-year relationship with Canterbury.
- Northland coach Bryce Woodward has questioned the relegation criteria in this season's Air New Zealand Cup. Four teams will drop out of the league at the end of the season in a New Zealand Rugby Union revamp, with financial performance, ticket receipts and player development forming the basis of the decisions.
Northland, along with Tasman, were threatened with relegation last season due to financial trouble but Woodward believes they should be given an opportunity in the new competition if they can justify it on-field and behind-the-scenes.
"If we finish outside the top 10 then we deserve to go down," he told Radio Sport. "If we finish inside the top 10 and we're financially viable in my opinion we deserve to stay up. We could end up finishing fourth in the competition and still get relegated to the second tier, which from my way of thinking is bizarre."
- Worcester will likely go in to Saturday's Guinness Premiership showdown with Sale minus back-row Kai Horstmann due to a rib injury. Horstmann picked up the injury in last weekend's loss to Wasps, but fortunately for the Warriors it is not a repeat of the injury that hampered him for much of last season.