New Zealand Rugby 'not fit for purpose' says scathing report

rugby31 August 2023 06:13| © AFP
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New Zealand Rugby's governing body was branded "not fit for purpose" in a scathing independent report published Thursday into the country's governing body.

Released a little over a week before the World Cup begins in France, the report paints a bleak picture of New Zealand Rugby, describing it as an outdated organisation hamstrung by its own structure and not fit for the modern era.

"New Zealand Rugby in the professional era is a large and complex business. The structure it sits within was not designed for a business of this size and complexity," said chair of the review panel David Pilkington.

Former All Blacks captain Graham Mourie was on the panel, commissioned by New Zealand Rugby and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association, which found fault with the governing body's constitution and governance structure.

The report found an "overwhelming proportion" of the 191 people interviewed said that the current arrangements "deliver a board that, on balance, is insufficiently qualified to provide the leadership the sport needs".

Among its recommendations, the panel suggests an independent process "to ensure the appointment of an appropriately skilled, high-performing board to lead the organisation".

The panel also calls for the creation of a 'Stakeholder Council' to ensure voices from grassroots rugby upwards are heard by New Zealand's rugby chiefs.

The report also questioned the financial viability of the country's elite-level rugby system. "In the panel's view, New Zealand rugby has too many professional players."

It said the NPC, New Zealand's provincial competition, is "unsustainable in its current format", while the five franchises that play in the top-level Super Rugby Pacific competition "are also struggling financially".

New Zealand Rugby chair Dame Patsy Reddy said the board will "take time to digest" the report. "We are committed to considering all recommendations."

New Zealand's All Blacks kick off the opening match of the World Cup against hosts France on September 8.