Melbourne group to meet ARU over Super15




The VicSuper15 syndicate, which is set to be rubber-stamped by the Australian Rugby Union to lead Melbourne’s bid for the vacant Super 15 licence on Tuesday, says that it wants to broker a peace deal with the Victorian Rugby Union.

VicSuper15 and the VRU have been publicly duelling over the rights to the Melbourne bid to go up against a challenge from a Port Elizabeth team in South Africa.

SANZAR will decide the winning bid of who will be named the team that will join the expanded Super Rugby competition in 2011, in October.

The disgruntled VRU, which controls rugby in the state, says it has been shut out of the selection process and will have little input on the franchise.

The ARU has stated it prefers a private equity model, with the VicSuper15 backed by Sydney-based mining services mogul Kevin Maloney.

The VicSuper15 consortium, which includes four ex-VRU board members, on Monday held out an olive branch to the state organisation after ARU boss John O’Neill warned the in-fighting could sway SANZAR South Africa’s way.

“We will continue to work with all levels of rugby to ensure the bid is successful and it’s a great tool to develop the game,” VicSuper 15 spokesman Travis Atkins told AAP.

“We have an absolute openness and willingness to work with all parties to make it a success.

“The critical element is to get it to Melbourne.”

He said that the inference that the consortium was run by Sydney-Sydneysiders was wrong.

“It’s incorrect to say it’s mainly driven out of Sydney when there’s five or six directors who are Melbourne rugby community people.

‘”They’re doing this for all the right reasons and funding it because they want to help the sport because they know that whether it’s profitable or not, it’s something that they want to do for all the right reasons.”

Atkins said there were no relationship problems between the VicSuper15 group and outspoken VRU president Gary Gray.

“We will bring the VRU in and we’ve offered participation to the VRU at board level.

“Ultimately we’re saying we’ll work consultatively and openly with the VRU and authentically and that is definitely the position of all directors.”

Melbourne Victory soccer team owner and chairman Geoff Lord’s Belgravia Group, another of the three local bidders, is also expected to invest by taking on such tasks as promotion, marketing and ticketing for the new Super 15 club.

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