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Ryan urged to contact SANZAAR over Fiji Super Rugby plan
February 3, 2017 / 6:05 AM / 9 months ago

Ryan urged to contact SANZAAR over Fiji Super Rugby plan

Fiji's coach Ben Ryan (R) hugs Samisoni Viriviri after losing to England in the Cup semi-final at the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament, as part of the Sevens World Series, in Hong Kong March 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Former Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan has been urged to get in touch with SANZAAR over his plans for a Super Rugby franchise in the Pacific island nation as the governing body of the competition have yet to receive any sort of approach.

Ryan, who led Fiji to their first Olympic gold medal in rugby sevens at the Rio Games last year, is in Australia this week for the Sydney Sevens and has been talking about plans for the franchise.

In November, the Briton had spoken of his backing for a A$33 million (20.2 million pounds) proposal for privately-financed team to play in a 20,000-seat stadium close to Fiji’s main airport.

In a tart statement on Friday, SANZAAR “noted with interest the ‘campaign’ led by Ryan” but said there had been no approach from Ryan or anyone else connected with the proposal.

“It seems strange that there is a campaign being led by Ben Ryan, mainly in the press, that could impact directly on Super Rugby and yet SANZAAR is completely in the dark about the proposal,” SANZAAR chief executive Andy Marinos said.“SANZAAR would welcome a conversation and is very open to talking with Ben or any of his associates on his proposed plan should he choose to engage with us.”

SANZAAR have yet to unveil the results of their strategic plan for the future of Super Rugby which Marinos commissioned soon after his appointment in Nov. 2015.

Having added teams in Japan, Argentina and South Africa last season to bring the tally up to 18, however, any further expansion of the tournament looks unlikely until the end of the current TV deal in 2020.

Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O'Brien

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