Well, well, well. Our crystal ball was spot on the money again. If you haven’t been using this column as a road map to work out where the Australian Super Rugby saga is heading, then you might want to start now.
Regular readers will know that in the most recent instalment of this enthralling series last week, entitled The Man Who Can Solve The Super Rugby Impasse, we made the following prediction:
So what’s the deal?
“Cox has signalled he is a seller of the Rebels franchise. While there’s deathly silence on the surface, you’d have to think the ARU are busy in the back room negotiating a deal with Cox. From where I’m sitting, that’s where things are heading.
Watch this space….”
And what did we read in all the papers today? That the ARU was negotiating behind closed doors to buy back the Rebels Super Rugby franchise from its private Kiwi owner Andrew Cox. Funny that! And as Magnum would say, you don’t have to be Alec Einstein to work out that ratcheting up the volume on the Rebels’ legal threats against the ARU is a tactic designed to give Cox more leverage in his negotiations with the Messrs Pulver and Clyne.
The negotiations with Cox represent the first signs of life from the ARU since rugby’s hierarchy went into the bunker a couple of weeks back as the Australian Super Rugby saga started lurching sideways towards a crisis. And if you ask me, it is also a very clear sign of where the ARU sees the solution, albeit a bit belatedly. The timing of the negotiations also suggest the ARU wants some sort of a game plan for CEO Bill Pulver to take to Tokyo for the upcoming World Cup and SANZAAR meetings.
From the Force’s perspective, it’s hard not to put a positive spin on the latest machinations. As your columnist predicted way back on April 28 – in the column entitled Why The Force Will Live To Fight Another Day – the Force will still be playing Super Rugby next season. As Murray Mexted might say if he was still on the Super Rugby commentary team, the psychic energy in this game is now with the Blue Army.
We also predicted that Cox might be persuaded to sell his Rebels licence for $4 million cash and a carton to broker a solution to the Super Rugby saga for the ARU, perhaps as a trigger for a Rebels-Brumbies merger. Hopefully, for the Force’s sake, the negotiations are now down to whether that’s a carton of Heineken, Super Dry or 150 Lashes. Or maybe even Lion Red for Kiwi Cox.
Stay tuned. Things are getting exciting…