Brumbies are safe: Pulver

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver has dismissed suggestions that the recent Brumbies turmoil could force the club to fold.

The Brumbies CEO Michael Jones on Tuesday won a Supreme Court injunction against the board’s decision to stand him down, in a dramatic week for the franchise.

Jones, speaking on ABC Grandstand last Saturday, suggested that the franchise could be at risk of folding, a situation that would put the ARU in breach of its SANZAAR agreement to field five Super Rugby teams.

Speaking on FOX SPORTS’s Rugby 360, Pulver was adamant that the ACT club would survive.

“That is not going to happen in a nutshell,” he said.

“The Brumbies are in solid financial shape.”

Regardless of how the situation plays out, Pulver said the governing body would be ready to lend a helping hand if required.

“Were there to be any issues down in Canberra at all we would obviously do anything we can to help out,” he said.

“The Brumbies are a great football team, they’re performing well this year and they’re in good shape for the future.

“The Brumbies are a very important part of the Australian Rugby landscape. They’re going to be there for a long, long time to come and we’ll do whatever we can to support them.”

Pulver said ultimately sport was always better when it was the on-field action in the forefront.

“The key for any game is that it’s in good shape when the sport itself is what’s dominating the headlines not the administration,” he said.

“I give great credit to Stephen Larkham and the team, they’re playing superbly. “

The Brumbies situation follows changes at a number of Super Rugby clubs, with the Waratahs recently appointing a new CEO and the Reds on the hunt for a chief executive and a coach.

Pulver said he was confident all clubs would be viable in the long-term, on and off the field.

“There are a few spot fires we’re working on but look, this stuff is cyclical,” he said.

“Senior executives in administration come and go - the really important issue is what happens on the paddock.”

“When you look at sports like Rugby and compare it to other codes (it’s very similar financially). Rugby league clubs, as we understand, lost an average of $2.7 million each last year.

“Soccer clubs are having a similar challenge. Only the very best of the AFL clubs are doing well financially.

“This has actually been an industry-wide challenge so we’re working really closely with all of the Super Rugby clubs to try and get that financial model right.

“We’ve still got a bit of work to do but in the interim what’s happening on the field is fantastic.”