Rugby: NZ Rugby Players Association's objection to Silver Lake 'not about the money' - Dane Coles

Opposition from the New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA) to the Silver Lake investment isn't about money, according to Hurricanes captain and All Black Dane Coles.

The Silver Lake deal moved a step closer to reality on Thursday, as New Zealand Rugby's board and the 26 provincial unions voted in favour of allowing the sale. 

The deal would see American investment firm Silver Lake acquire a 12.5 percent share of a new entity named Commercial LP at a price of $387 million.

Commercial LP will control NZ Rugby's commercial interests, with $39m of the sale price committed to provincial unions. There will also be a legacy fund established to ensure the sustainability of rugby at all levels.

But despite overwhelming support in favour of the deal from New Zealand Rugby and the provincial unions, the real opposition lies with the NZRPA, who also need to sign off the deal if it's to go through.

In January, a number of key figures within New Zealand rugby - including All Blacks captain Sam Cane - penned a letter laying out concerns over the Silver Lake deal, most notably around misappropriation of Māori and Pasifika culture within the game.

Coles was a notable signee of that letter, and made it clear exactly where the Players Association stands, despite Thursday's NZR's board meeting.

"It's a big decision," Coles told Newshub. "We've always known where New Zealand Rugby's decision lied (sic). They're really keen for it, and that's fair.

"This is a very big decision though. It's something we could look back [on] in 100 years and say 'why did we make that decision?' or we could look back in 100 years and say 'we're glad we made that decision.'

"I know the Players Association have got the players' best interests at heart. If it was about the money, we'd say yes, plain and simple - but it's not about the money.

"It's about leaving the game in the best hands, and having the future as bright as we can, and looking after everyone, and not selling a percentage of it. 

"[It's] something that might work, it's something that might not.

"The Players Association has been getting a bit of stick lately about we should kind of 'shut our mouths and take the deal', but we wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't ask questions and have courageous conversations with New Zealand Rugby about what's going on."

NZRPA boss Rob Nichol says they've paused any negotiations with NZR, meaning any resolution is far from imminent. 

Newshub understands two alternatives were put to NZR in their latest round of mediation talks, which concluded on Tuesday.