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No mediation needed? NZR boss fends off Andrew Saville's cheeky jibe after new sponsor named

New Zealand Rugby may have outlined before this afternoon's "special announcement" that their press conference wouldn't be about the potential Silver Lake deal but it didn't take media long to try and change that script — unsuccessfully.

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The 1 NEWS Sport presenter tried to get the latest on the Silver Lake deal from Mark Robinson, but he refused to play ball. Source: 1 NEWS

NZR CEO Mark Robinson was at Ponsonby Rugby Club this afternoon to announce the new major sponsor they had secured for domestic rugby, with hardware giant Bunnings Warehouse coming on board, but many reporters had questions for a different deal at the ready.

After Robinson and Bunnings head of trade Paul Connolly gave their opening comments about the new deal, 1 NEWS Sport presenter Andrew Saville opened the question time asking about what impact the deal could have on grassroots rugby.

Robinson said the deal will boost clubs significantly.

"[Clubs are] the lifeblood of our country, they're the start for a lot of participants in our game," he said.

"This relationship allows us to directly invest into those clubs. Clubs I've been involved with recently all have needs as it stands at the moment, whether it's club upgrades or schemes around participation.

"It's a great opportunity for clubs to work with us and Bunnings as to what some of those great investment cases might be so those clubs might thrive."

Quick off the answer, though, Saville had a follow-up question ready that took a dig at the latest developments from the Silver Lake saga.

"You haven't had to go into mediation for this deal?"

The question got some chuckles from media and a smile from Robinson himself after NZR entered such discussions with the Players' Association yesterday over their concerns about the potential deal with the US investor.

Robinson was just as political with his answer as he has been all week when it comes to the topic.

"Clubrooms like this are always good forums for great debates, Sav."

Another reporter then interjected, trying to get Robinson to talk more on the Silver Lake deal but the NZR boss was quick to shoot the line of questioning down.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for us to talk about our community game today," Robinson said.

"We really want it to be solely focused on that."

Robinson said he might field questions on the deal after the announcement but wanted to focus on what had been presented for the time being.

NZR and the Players’ Association entered mediation yesterday to discuss the deal, although Robinson remains confident it will be signed, with an announcement expected after NZR’s annual general meeting on April 29.