NZ Rugby hits back at players association for trying to 'destroy' Silver Lake deal

New Zealand Rugby has slammed the players association for attempting to "destroy" the Silver Lake deal by sharing the counter-proposal by Forsyth Barr, which they believe provides better value for the national rugby body.

New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson. Source: 1 NEWS

The New Zealand Rugby Players Association shared Forsyth Barr's counter proposal with media earlier today, which suggested the sale of a five per cent stake in NZR's revenue generating assets through an NZX-listed entity to the New Zealand public and institutions.

Forsyth Barr and the NZRPA believed the valuation of NZR's commercial rights is between $3.4 and $3.8 billion, 12-23 per cent higher than the Silver Lake valuation of $3.1 billion.

They also believed NZR would be able to retain more profits going forward under the proposed alternative.

However, NZR has hit back against the proposal almost immediately, saying it is "shocked and disappointed" the NZRPA and CEO Rob Nichol shared the counter proposal with media before doing so with NZR.

"NZR has no desire to continue to play out an ill-informed 'my model is better than yours' debate — nor do we think the public like it —and we would have rather continued to constructively negotiate with Rob Nichol and his board, which we have made clear," the statement said.

"Through doing this, the NZRPA leadership has unilaterally taken a decision to attempt to destroy the Silver Lake deal — and the incredible financial and capability outcomes it would provide for all of rugby, as acknowledged by the unanimous vote of our Provincial Unions and Māori Rugby Board.

"We are sorry, that for the players, their own union has put them in this position where the greatest opportunity for the future of all of rugby in New Zealand could be lost."

But NZRPA president and Forsyth Barr chairman David Kirk said it would be "very hard" for NZR not to consider the alternative deal, due to the confidence it could be executed and the valuation of the commercial rights being higher.

Today's spat is just the latest disagreement between the two organisations regarding the controversial decision to sell a stake in NZR.

Provincial unions unanimously voted for the Silver Lake deal to proceed last month, while outgoing NZR chairman Brent Impey took a shot at NZRPA, saying he was "very disappointed" in its opposition to the deal.