Brumbies and University of Canberra repair rift

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Brumbies and the University of Canberra have moved to publicly mend last year’s tensions, announcing a new partnership as SANZAAR’s call on Super Rugby’s future looms.

Former Brumbies CEO Michael Jones had a long-running legal battle with the University’s former vice-chancellor Stephen Parker, its union and union CEO, Joe Roff that was finally settled in September.

On Thursday, new Brumbies CEO Michael Thomson and University of Canberra vice-chancellor Deep Saini were all smiles as they unveiled the university’s new back of jumper sponsorship.

“It's great to have Deep so supportive and the university so supportive,” he said.

“We see great opportunities for us to work together, drive mutual benefit and grow both brands and both organisations.”

“So, yes (it’s a step forward).”

Saini was happy to move on from the issues of the past.

“I never saw the past as any problem between the two organisations,” he said.

“It was an issue between some individuals essentially and there was no issue between Brumbies and the University of canberra.

“We are on a continuum of building a relationship and that has never stopped.

“We may have gone into a it of a silence for a moment but nothing beyond yet.”

The timing of the announcement was significant, coming on the eve of a critical SANZAAR executive meeting with the four partner nations to debate the future Super Rugby format.

The Brumbies have been one of the teams who look in the gun if an Australian team were to be cut in a revised Super Rugby competition, due to its financial struggles, but Thomson dismissed that on Thursday.

“We're the most successful Australian team, we've been in the finals the last four years, we're developing a lot of Wallabies, we're developing a lot of high level coaches and we're financially viable,” he said.

“We have no intention of going anywhere.”

Thomson said it was a show of faith from the university in the situation as well.

“We're moving in the right direction,” he said.

“We can't get ahead of ourselves, we've got to recognise where we are and where we've come from.

“This is a great announcement for us and it's a really positive vote of confidence from the University of Canberra.”