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Brumbies secure in takeover but games could still be taken elsewhere

Noah Lolesio of the Brumbies scores in the corner. Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

The ACT Brumbies’ future in Canberra has been secured, but Super Rugby Pacific home games could still be taken elsewhere as the governing body’s centralisation efforts ramp up.


The country’s most successful Super Rugby Pacific outfit agreed on Tuesday to transfer operational control to Rugby Australia (RA).

There was widespread pushback from clubs when the prospect was first floated more than a year ago.

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But the Brumbies have now followed the lead of the NSW Waratahs, who handed over the keys at the start of the year.

The financially strapped Melbourne Rebels were axed from the competition for next season, while the Queensland Reds and Western Force remain independent of RA.

Queensland Rugby Union has stated a position of support for high-performance alignment, but not commercial or corporate functions.

The Brumbies, the two-time champions and only Australian team in this year’s semi-finals, fought hard for assurances the club would remain in Canberra before agreeing to the deal.


“That was a critical element,” RA chief executive Phil Waugh said on Tuesday.

But Melbourne, set to host Saturday’s second Wallabies Test against Wales, is now without a men’s team, and Waugh left the door open for some Brumbies games to be moved away from the nation’s capital.

“I think we’ve got (to keep) an open mind,” Waugh said.

“We need to ensure that we’re supporting rugby around the country.

“We’ve got an open mind around most things in rugby in Australia at the moment.”

Despite their success, the Brumbies have struggled to generate match-day revenue through ticketing, while RA’s funding decrease and failure to secure additional private deals led to the decision.


Uncertainty ahead of RA’s next broadcast deal from 2026 was also a factor, Brumbies chairman Matt Nobbs said.

“There’s a number of uncertainties still out there,” he said.

“The big one is the next broadcast deal and what that’s going to look like and what the number will be.

“As an organisation, as a board, we’re pretty optimistic that number should exceed the current deal with what’s on the landscape.”

Meanwhile in Melbourne, the Wallabies will be seeking consecutive victories for the first time since a five-game winning streak was halted in 2021.

“You think back to old Wallabies teams, we haven’t won back-to-back games that many times,” Brumbies star, Victorian product and reigning John Eales Medallist Rob Valetini said on Tuesday.

Australia beat Wales 25-16 in Sydney last week, the side’s first Test under new coach Joe Schmidt.

“In our third week together, knowing we can put a performance like that builds confidence,” Valetini said.

“I’ve played here (in Melbourne) a couple of times in the gold jersey and get a lot of confidence out of it, knowing I was born and bred here and have a lot of family in the crowd.”

All Black second row Brodie Retallick joins Jim Hamilton for the latest episode of Walk the Talk, touching on life in Japan, RWC 2023 and the future of All Black rugby. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV


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Jon 11 days ago

This is a great direction, it can be a real capitol team, going on the road to show the country rugby. Melbourne could host the annual Moan v Brumbie game, maybe snag other home or away Brumbies fixtures, but Brumbies could also take games country. Keep all the areas interested and they’ll get bigger turnouts than at home.

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