With the recent success of the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition, the focus now turns to the future as New Zealand Rugby looks to use the current template and expand for seasons ahead.
1 NEWS Sports reporter, Scotty Stevenson, says New Zealand Rugby is looking at creating an entity to own and operate a new look Super Rugby tournament, with the inclusion of a Pacific team a strong possibility.
Stevenson noted that there is strong support within the New Zealand rugby community for a Pasifika team.
“I think that they want an eight-team competition. Five New Zealand teams, a Pasifika team, and that’s been pushed really hard by the chairman of New Zealand Rugby and of course by the Players Association as well,” Stevenson said.
Stevenson said that a Pacific presence in Super Rugby is “overdue” and with the current global situation, it is the right time to bring a Pacific team into the fold.
“It’s overdue for New Zealand or Australia, to get into the Pacific and say “you’re us, this our backyard”, because at the moment this is what we’ve got. New Zealand, the Pacific and potentially Australia in the future is what we’ve got.
“There’s five Australian clubs who are interested in being a part of that, only room for two”
Breakfast presenter and die-hard Hurricanes fan, John Campbell, says he is for the idea but noted that a large number of Pacific players are currently competing in northern hemisphere competitions.
“I’m obsessed with the Pasifika team because I really like the idea but how the hell would it work because there’s five or 600 Pasifika players up earning their keep in the northern hemisphere right?”
Stevenson however, pointed out that a large number of northern hemisphere players are currently in New Zealand with the majority of European tournaments shuttered due to Covid-19. Although, the financial challenges and the logistical nightmare of having one team spread across a number of islands may be a potential roadblock.
“Who comes up with the money? All of these investors in these clubs are going to be asked to put guarantees up for this entity. Who is selling the licenses? Who is buying this license? Who is going to run this team, is the big question, and where is it going to be based?” Stevenson said.
Despite the challenges, Stevenson suggested the possibility of a Pasifika team coming together later this year to face off with the All Blacks in order to help them prepare for their Bledisloe Cup tests.
“Are we going to see this Pasifika team, perhaps cobble together very quickly, to provide opposition for the All Blacks ahead of the Bledisloe Cup tests, that could be an intriguing proposition too.”