29 Oct 2009

NZRU still committed to 10-team provincial competition

8:48 am on 29 October 2009

The New Zealand rugby union has reaffirmed its commitment to cutting four teams from the Air New Zealand Cup competition, despite campaigns to retain 14 teams in the national provincial championship.

Chief executive Steve Tew says they're projecting a financial loss for the year despite cutbacks and are also budgeting for one for 2010 which will result in further cutbacks, although he won't say what they are at this stage.

Tew says despite having cash reserves they're taking a conservative approach, and the cost difference between the current structure and a 10-team set-up will also depend on the outcome of pay talks with the players union.

He says reducing the top flight will save the NZRU $3 million a year but wouldn't go into the new pay structures they want to implement with the 10-team competition and a six-team second tier, saying it would be inappropriate before discussing the matter with the players association.