17 Aug 2009

NZ won't bid for Super 15 team

10:02 pm on 17 August 2009

The New Zealand Rugby Union will not bid for the 15th Super team when the competition expands in 2011.

The NZRU had received preliminary interest from the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union, which withdrew from the process earlier in August, and a group in Taranaki.

Both provinces feed into the existing Wellington Hurricanes franchise.

The NZRU, which had been cool on a sixth New Zealand franchise entering the competition, said it would not put the Taranaki bid through to governing body SANZAR for further consideration.

It said that would not be in the best interests of New Zealand rugby at this time.

At present, Australia has four teams, compared with New Zealand and South Africa's five, and is considered the favourite for the expansion side despite concerns over its player depth.

The Australian Rugby Union said last week it would endorse a single bid from Melbourne, while South Africa received one expression of interest from the Southern Kings franchise from the Eastern Cape region.

SANZAR is expected to make a final decision in October.