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ARU rejects Brumbies-Rebels Super merger

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/04/2017 Warren Barnsley

Australian Rugby Union is holding firm on safeguarding the Brumbies from the Super Rugby chopping block, amid calls to merge the club with Melbourne Rebels.

Rebels boss Andrew Cox has welcomed discussion of the merger idea, raised by former Wallabies coach John Connolly who has backed the vulnerable Western Force to remain in the competition.

But an ARU spokesman told AAP there had been no change in its position that the Brumbies be excluded from discussions around cutting Australia's Super Rugby participation from five to four teams.

Both the Rebels and Force have insisted the ARU has no legal right to remove them after governing body SANZAAR's decision to reduce Super Rugby by three teams, including two from South Africa.

Connolly, who coached the Queensland Reds during a successful period in the 1990s, told News Corp Australia the ACT-based Brumbies were fortunate to survive the axe.

His merger proposal would see the "Melbourne Brumbies" split their home games between the locations, while the Force's ability to produce homegrown talent entitled them a place in the competition.

However, Cox says no discussions with the Brumbies had taken place regarding a merger.

"It's certainly great to see someone thinking outside the box to help the ARU board find a way out of this," he told News Corp.

"But it is a matter for the ARU board and we certainly haven't had any discussions with the Brumbies."

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