Rugby Australia CEO Phil Waugh has given assurance the ACT Brumbies will stay in the nation's capital amid centralisation discussions.
Waugh made the comments after the NSW Waratahs became the first club to formalise a partnership as part of the 'reset' of the game.
The Brumbies have made their position clear around the proposal, questioning the idea of integrating their commercial operations with the governing body.
This led to some suggestions the club could leave Canberra as part of the process, which Waugh adamantly denied.
“We’ve already given that guarantee and that’s already been committed to the Brumbies,” Waugh said when asked if he could guarantee the Brumbies would stay in Canberra.
“I’ve got a really close relationship with Chairman Matt Nobbs and (CEO) Phil Thomson and we’re making good progress.
“It’s been a bit noisy in the media but I do feel like since the World Cup and over the last couple of weeks we’ve made some better progress than where we were three or four weeks ago.
“There’s a lot to do but I do feel fairly optimistic about the direction we’re going.”
Waugh concedes they need to build trust with the Brumbies and the three other Super Rugby clubs yet to sign, confident further announcements will follow shortly.
“I think it’s around trust,” Waugh said.
“It’s about the security of the Brumbies remaining in Canberra and the IP, which we’ve given. I think that now it’s about working through what a structure looks like from a day to day management but overlaying and underpinning all of that building trust.
“We don’t see it as a takeover. It’s (about) integration, partnership and alignment. I think some of the concerns around the location of the Brumbies are seen as a takeover but we do not see it that way.
“At the end of the day, the member unions and community own Rugby, not Rugby Australia. We’re here to do the best we possibly can for Rugby in the country and that’s about driving the high-performance elements as well as looking after our community game."