• Rugby bodies unite to seek efficiencies, opportunities for sustainability
• Governance group set up to lead work
• Preliminary report due end of February
New Zealand Rugby (NZR), New Zealand’s 26 Provincial Unions and five Investec Super Rugby Clubs have today announced the launch of a joint project to review Rugby in New Zealand with a goal to set the sport up for sustained success, over the next decade. The sport currently sits in a very dynamic environment and it is timely to review how we deliver rugby and ensure the sport has the resources to ensure it is sustainable and relevant to fans and communities right across the rugby system.
A Governance Group has been formed to provide oversight and input from across all levels of rugby with NZR Board member Stewart Mitchell appointed as Chair.
The Review work will be led by NZR Chief Operating Officer Nicki Nicol and the other members are:
• Provincial Union representatives – Michael Meehan (West Coast), Colin Groves (Waikato), Matt Evans (Wellington), Tony Smail (Canterbury), Cushla Tangaere-Manuel (Ngati Porou East Coast);
• Investec Super Rugby representatives – Grant Jarrold (Crusaders), Roger Clark (Highlanders);
• NZR representatives – Stewart Mitchell (Chair), Nicki Nicol (Review Lead) and Nigel Cass.
NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson said that while rugby in New Zealand had a structure that had served it well for more than 125 years, the time was right to look at how rugby can best thrive and serve New Zealand communities in a rapidly changing society.
“We’re experiencing an unparalleled period of change as the world is now closer, our communities are larger and connecting in modern and immediate ways, and new generations are engaging differently in activities centred around sport, entertainment and leisure. Now is the time to take a look at whether we can be better prepared for what the future holds.
“Rugby is under pressure in many parts of the game, from participation, fan engagement, talent retention and increasingly tough financial environments.
“We have seen significant growth in rugby since professionalism in 1996 but not all areas of the game have thrived in that environment and there is a never-ending drive to grow revenue and manage the cost base of the game.
“This is an important opportunity to stand back, look at the needs across all levels of rugby, from community to elite, and consider how we ensure that the legacy of this game continues well into the future. We want to ensure that rugby stays relevant and connected with fans and community, while still creating pathways and opportunities for emerging talent.”
Stewart Mitchell said: “The objective of the Review is to assess current activities are fit for purpose, meaningful and cost effective, whilst at the same time, we are also looking for opportunities that keep people involved in rugby, ensure our game is sustainable and keep it part of New Zealand’s treasured culture and identity.”
NZR has appointed a consulting partner to bring independence and expertise to support this process. Any initial outcomes and recommendations will be shared with the Rugby community by end of May.