Rugby: NZ Rugby announces in-depth review of Super Rugby

AMI Stadium.
AMI Stadium. Photo credit: Getty

Super Rugby will come under immediate scrutiny in a wholesale review of the competition.

Led by Blues chairman Don Mackinnon, the review will focus on how the competition can remain relevant, both locally and internationally, while also confronting issues around fan engagement and financial sustainability. 

A review of franchise licenses was already underway, but COVID-19 has prompted officials to take a deeper look at the future of the competition. 

Dubbed 'Aratipu',  the review is about "growing, regeneration and invigoration".

"The work we are announcing today will look at a range of options for the future of Super Rugby in New Zealand, with the goal of offering a competition that engages fans, is financially sustainable, whilst continuing to develop outstanding players ready for national representative rugby," says Mackinnon.

"All of the Super Rugby licenses were up for renewal in 2020 and a review was already underway as part of that, but the impact of COVID-19 creates another dimension and means we need to take a broader look at how we continue the 25-year legacy of Super Rugby for New Zealand."

NZ Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson says it's the natural next step, after NZ Rugby's sweeping review earlier this year.

"The review is about ensuring our Super Rugby remains relevant, sustainable, and our fans are entertained and engaged," says Robinson.

“The recent 'Review of Rugby' highlighted areas of opportunity for Super Rugby in terms of both revenue and cost. We are now also factoring in the impact of COVID-19 to look at a range of scenarios for the clubs and competition to keep the Super Rugby legacy strong and fit for purpose."

Mackinnon and Robinson will be joined by Chiefs chair Tonia Cawood, Hurricanes chair Iain Potter, Crusaders chair Grant Jarrold, Highlanders chair Doug Harvie, private investor representative Liz Dawson and NZR chair Brent Impey.

A preliminary report will be provided to the NZR Board at the end of June 2020 and the complete findings will be provided later in the year.