Provinces bid for New Zealand franchises
March 30, 2012
The Crusaders are one of four New Zealand franchises up for grabs © Getty Images
The New Zealand Rugby Union are negotiating with four provincial unions over the operation of four of the country's five Super Rugby franchises.
Five bidders expressed their interest in holding licences for the Crusaders, Hurricanes, Chiefs and Blues while the NZRU are considering other options for the Highlanders. Auckland, Taranaki, Wellington and Canterbury unions are all thought to have bid with each franchise receiving interest. Taranaki are interested in either the Hurricanes or the Chiefs.
"A decision was made yesterday... to begin individual negotiations with four of the five proposals we have received," NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said after Thursday's board meeting. "All four of those are provincial union-based and there's a lot of work to be done now to get them to a point where we take their proposal to a recommendation to the board."
The target is to have new licence holders in place for next year's Super Rugby season in order to inject new capital into the franchises. The licence holders will be able to market and select their franchise teams, but the players and coaches will be centrally contracted by the NZRU. They will also look after the Highlanders.
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