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Franchises were too costly: ARU chairman

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/04/2017

ARU chairman Cameron Clyne says the cost of keeping Super Rugby franchises afloat was compromising other parts of the game, forcing a decision to be made.

Clyne told Sky Sports Radio on Thursday, since 2013 an additional $28 million has been invested in the five Australian franchises.

"We just made the call that that has got to stop at some point because that $28 million is money we would rather be putting into the grass roots of the game," Clyne said.

Clyne said discussions around cutting one Australian team in 2018 as part of a restructure to revert to a 15-team Super Rugby format arose when broadcast partners adjusted the deal to allow the same level of revenue with one less team.

"That allows us to obviously take the savings of having one less team... that is why we haven't done it previously; we did not have an opportunity to do it," Clyne said.

Clyne admits the board could have dealt with some aspects of the matter better but says he could not "see any alternative" to the public speculation.

"There is no way with the number of people involved that that could have been kept secret," he said.

"It was always going to be public so you are always going to get that element of speculation.

"There are lessons to learn here but there is no way, when you are going through a difficult process, everyone is going to be happy."

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