The Crusaders and Hurricanes Super Rugby franchises will have
new operators next year, with the Wellington side to be
controlled by a group including Gareth Morgan.
The New Zealand Rugby Union today announced two groups,
involving a mix of provincial unions and private investors,
will manage the two teams after expressions of interest were
sought for the licences a year ago.
The licence to manage the Hurricanes has been awarded to a
Wellington group including Wellington Rugby, former
Hurricanes directors Paul Collins and Liz Dawson, and
Morgan's Welnix, the ownership group of the Wellington
Phoenix football team.
The license has been awarded for a period of three years with
a right of renewal for five more years.
The NZRU and a Crusaders region consortium have agreed in
principle a licence arrangement to operate the Crusaders
franchise and a final contract is expected to be signed
within a month.
"These new arrangements are a step forward in terms of
putting Super Rugby on a stronger financial footing to ensure
the game at the professional level is better placed to
prosper and deliver for its fans," said NZRU chief executive
For the Blues, options were being considered both regionally
and internationally and the franchise required more time to
consolidate a final bid.
The NZRU will retain full ownership of the franchises, the
contracting process and coaching appointments.
Investors will get to select, market and manage their team as
well as lobby for players outside New Zealand if that works
in tandem with the sport's governing body.
An initial expression of interest was also received for the
"However, it is disappointing the Chiefs were not able to
finalise a bid," said Tew. "A new, commercially-focused board
has been appointed by the NZRU to build on the great success
the Chiefs enjoyed this year both on and off the field."