NZ govt backing a Pacific Super Rugby team?

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is looking over a government commissioned a feasibility study on the establishment of a Pacific Islands Super Rugby team.

The report has been given to NZR, though they say as it was shared with them confidentially, they can’t discuss it.

It was commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) under the previous National government.

“Sport is an integral part of the cultures of many Pacific Islands countries, and the New Zealand aid programme, administered by MFAT, recognises it can be an effective vehicle for development in the region,” MFAT said in a statement.

“There is presently no professional rugby pathway in the Pacific Islands. MFAT funded the study to support … the cause of the Pacific Island countries, and with a view to eventually encourage the investment likely to be necessary to fund a commercially viable professional rugby team,” the statement said.

Newshub reports the study cost the taxpayer $80,000 and under the plan the team would be based in Suva and play some home games in Samoa, Tonga, Auckland and Sydney.

It’s unclear who would fund the team.

Super Rugby faces a potential shakeup in 2020 when the current broadcasting deal expires.

South African teams have confirmed they’ve been looking at the option of leaving Super Rugby and joining the Pro14 tournament in Europe, though Super Rugby’s governing body has dismissed those claims.

The Sydney Morning Herald also reported a leaked document showed Super Rugby bosses were keen to expand into North America from 2020.

Source: RadioNZ