Well folks, after moving at a glacial pace since April, tonight there is frenzied activity in the Australian Super Rugby saga. And that activity might just have delivered the ARU a golden opportunity to finally deliver on its SANZAAR mandate to axe an Australian Super Rugby team – the Rebels.
The sudden burst of action followed confirmation today from Andrew Cox that his private Imperium group had transferred ownership of the Rebels licence to the Victorian Rugby Union (VRU). Cox was always a reluctant player in this saga and has now sought to wash his hands of it. Cox had also stated he would not negotiate to sell the licence to the ARU if that meant the Rebels would be axed. Instead, he has simply passed the parcel.
The critical point is that the transfer of the Rebels licence from Imperium to the VRU was done without the approval of the ARU, which has effectively been kept in the dark.
That leaves the ARU in a pivotal position in either of two scenarios.
Scenario 1 is that Cox is in breach of the Rebels licence conditions by not seeking ARU approval to transfer ownership to the VRU. Scenario 2 is that the ARU has the power to block the transfer of the Rebels licence to the VRU. That is tonight the subject of an ARU investigation.
Either way, the ARU now has a trigger to resolve the Australian Super Rugby saga once and for all. What’s more, Cox has handed the ARU an opportunity to make that critical call before Bernard Coles hands down his decision on the ARU-RugbyWA arbitration hearing next week.
Your columnist declared back on May 11 that the Force would survive the Super Rugby cull. Tonight’s drama certainly supports that.
Stay tuned ….