FRU intends to seek $14m in capital for Drua Super Rugby dream
February 25, 2021 6:27 am
A separate company structure will run the operations of the Fijian Drua for the 2022 Super Rugby competition.
It will be conducted through a separate company structure, with its’ own Board of Directors, and administration, separate from the Fiji Rugby Union.
This has been confirmed by FRU Chief Executive John O’Connor as they have now completed one of the key steps in finalizing its Business Plan which will underpin Drua’s proposed entry in 2022.
As a proposed new entrant, the Drua will need to meet stringent financial conditions set down by New Zealand Rugby Union which include the requirement to hold substantial cash assets and provide financial guarantees to ensure the team’s long-term viability.
O’Connor says as a result of the financial requirements, FRU has decided to seek private capital and is offering majority ownership of the entity which will own & operate the team.
The FRU CEO adds private capital is a fact of life for sporting teams and franchises around the world, and they are embracing it, at the same time making sure that Fiji Rugby has an appropriate say in policy and key decisions around the team.
He says they intend to seek NZ$10 million in capital and they’re confident that their proposal will attract strong interest from Investors in Australia, New Zealand, and around the world.
O’Connor says ideally, they’d like Fijian investors also, but they’re looking for either a single investor or at most 3 or 4 entities to back the team.
FRU Chair, Conway Beg says once they attract the capital, they can finally bring the best players home, keep our best local players and have them together in one place, training and playing together week in & week out.
The FRU’s General Manager, Commercial Brian Thorburn will lead the capital raising and will work with an appointed financial advisor to finalize the transaction by the end of March.
O’Connor says they are adopting a structure very similar to those which operate at existing provincial unions in Australia & New Zealand.
The Drua will have its own Head Coach, and coaching structure, and there will be a Chief Executive Officer and back-office support team, there are expected to be 37 men playing squad in Year 1, with coaching & administration staff of up to a further 28 people.
The business plan envisages playing at least six home games in Fiji each year, against blockbuster teams such as the Chiefs, Crusaders, Blues, Reds & Brumbies.