Fiji Rugby has the opportunity to present a team from their country in the Super Rugby 2022 competition, subject to the fulfillment of a series of conditions established by NZ Rugby.
The Union of Fiji announced that it has completed one of the key steps in finalizing its Business Plan that will support the proposed entry of Fijian Drua in 2022.
FRU CEO John O’Connor said: “The prospect of Fijian Drua playing in Super Rugby will be a dream come true, if we can overcome the financial hurdles necessary to maintain such a team. Having the resources to offer competitive gaming contracts not only to bring our best players home, but to keep our best local talent in Fiji is our key goal. We want to present a team that is capable of reaching the final in its first year and winning the competition in 5 years ”.
The Business Plan calls for playing at least six home games in Fiji each year, against highly successful teams such as the Chiefs, Crusaders, Blues, Reds & Brumbies.
O’Connor added: “The Super Rugby games held in Fiji in recent years show our fans’ passion and support for Super Rugby, and with a Fijian team representing our country, we are very confident that Fijians locals will passionately support Drua. “
The confidential business plan provided to New Zealand Rugby Union not only outlines the financial goals and initial structure of the playing and training team, but also details the complete administrative structures to support the team.
O’Connor noted that, like the arrangements for Drua’s entry into the Australian NRC in recent years, Drua’s operations will be carried out through a separate company structure, with its own board of directors and management, separate from the FRU.
“We are adopting a very similar structure to those that operate in the existing provincial unions in Australia and New Zealand,” O’Connor said. “The team will have its own head coach and training structure, and there will be an executive director and an administrative support team. We hope to have a 37-man team playing in the first year, with a coaching and management team of up to 28 more people. ”
The new entrant will be required to comply with the strict financial conditions set by the New Zealand Rugby Union, which include the requirement to maintain substantial cash assets and provide financial guarantees to ensure the long-term viability of the team.
O’Connor said: “We have long understood that we would need to raise capital to overcome financial hurdles. We want the team to be properly capitalized so that it can be in place for twenty years or more, not just a few. NZ Rugby rightly insists on the existence of sufficient financial resources to sustain the team’s operations, even if we have a bad year or two. “
As a result of financial requirements, Fiji Rugby has decided to seek private equity and is offering majority ownership of the entity that will own and operate the equipment. Along with its’ Business Plan, FRU has also prepared a detailed information memorandum to describe the opportunity and attract investors.
O’Connor said: “Private equity is a reality for sports teams and franchises around the world, and we are embracing it, while also ensuring that Fiji Rugby has a proper voice in key policy and decisions. of the team. We intend to raise capital of NZ $ 10 million and we are confident that our proposal will attract great interest from investors in Australia, New Zealand, and around the world. Ideally, we would also like investors from Fiji, but we are looking for a single investor or at most 3 or 4 entities to support our team. “
FRU President Conway Beg said: “This is a transformational opportunity for Fiji Rugby. Once we attract the capital, we can finally bring our best players home, keep our best local players and have them together in one place, training and playing together week after week, developing combinations and having a constant development of skills, strength. and conditioning. support and all the usual facilities that other Super Rugby teams enjoy in the region. We can’t wait to bring Fiji’s rugby style to Super Rugby in 2022 – fun, flair, energy, unpredictability. I can not wait! “
FRU General Manager Commercial Brian Thorburn will lead the capital raising and work with a designated financial advisor to finalize the transaction at the end of March. Beg added: “We have to put the capital in its place. Otherwise, we will not be able to make the dream come true. Once this is done, we will share much more information about our plans. “