Minister of Sport says islands-based Super Rugby team would be 'embraced by Pasifika community'

Grant Robertson says he would welcome the addition of a Pacific team to enter the Super Rugby competition, as the early stages of team development commence. 

It comes after the government and NZ Rugby funded an $80,000 feasibility study. Source: 1 NEWS

It comes after the New Zealand government and New Zealand Rugby funded an $80,000 feasibility study for a Pacific Islands team.

When asked how committed he was to a Pacific rugby team, Mr Robertson said it was a matter for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

However he said "speaking as the Minister for Sport and Recreation, I would certainly welcome a Pacific Rugby team in the Super competition". 

"I think it would add a huge amount to it, and clearly it would be something that would be embraced by Pasifika community both in the Pacific itself and here."

Nichol said there will be a lot of work needed to be done for a Pacific team to enter the competition. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Robertson was asked if it could pull players from some of the New Zealand Super Rugby teams, to which he answered, "well, that would be interesting, wouldn't it?"

"But I think there's a huge depth of talent in New Zealand rugby and in the Pacific that could certainly cope with a team... and I think it would be a real welcome addition to Super Rugby."

He said the decision was made that MFAT would help with the early stages of the team establishment, but in terms of tax payer funding, Mr Robertson said "Super Rugby franchises, they're usually developed by rugby unions and by the private sector".

"I'd imagine that model would be what would continue."