Melbourne’s new Super 15 team
Melbourne has landed a major coup and further cemented its status as the world’s sporting capital by winning a new team licence for the expanding South African, New Zealand and Australian Rugby Union (SANZAR) competition, Premier John Brumby said today.
Mr Brumby congratulated the ARU and VRU in their efforts to secure Melbourne a spot in the competition from 2011, which was decided following an arbitration process today.
“Victorians love their sport and Melbourne is the perfect fit for a new team,” Mr Brumby said.
“With construction of our iconic $267 million rectangular stadium well advanced – Melbourne will be right at home and today’s decision is great news for Victorian rugby.
“The Victorian Government continues to invest in key infrastructure projects to give Victoria the edge and ensure we continue to attract the major sporting events Melbourne is renowned for.
“Our new stadium – home to the new team, Melbourne Storm and Melbourne Victory – will be one of the best stadiums in the world to watch Rugby Union and our other rectangular codes.”
Sports Minister James Merlino said the Victorian Government had taken a leadership role in the bidding process and worked closely with the ARU, VRU and wider rugby community to bring all the interested parties together and ensure Melbourne’s bid was the strongest it could be.
“Melbourne is the best choice for a new Super Rugby team – our bid has the support of our passionate rugby community, business leaders and the Victorian Government,” Mr Merlino said.
“The decision reaffirms Melbourne as a sporting capital and we now boast a team in every major sporting code in Australia. I congratulate everyone who has worked so tirelessly to ensure Melbourne’s bid was a success.”
VRU Chairman Gary Gray said the decision was a big win for Victoria’s rugby union community.
“This is a great reward for all of Victoria’s dedicated and passionate rugby union fans and is a fantastic opportunity to grow and develop the code in Victoria,” Mr Gray said.
“This year we celebrate 100 years of rugby in this state and the decision is a great reward.”
Mr Merlino said the Victorian Government had provided $500,000 in funding towards the State Rugby Centre at the Rectangular Stadium, which will provide first-class facilities for player training and conditioning.