10 Nov 2020

Kanaloa Pasifika to serve NZ Rugby legal notice

11:25 am on 10 November 2020

Kanaloa Pasifika will serve New Zealand Rugby with legal notice today, giving it 14 days to withdraw and retract its decision to support a rival Pacific Island Super Rugby bid.

The Auckland-based Moana Pasifika bid and a Fiji-led delegation have been chosen to join the new-look competition in 2022, alongside the existing five teams from New Zealand and five from Australia.

Caleb Clarke playing for the Blues.


But Kanaloa Pasifika have claimed NZR breached its own rules by appointing Moana Pasifika as a Primary Partner when the group did not take part in the formal tender process.

Kanaloa Chef Executive Officer Tracy Atiga said they have instructed their legal counsel to issue a letter to NZR today.

If the Union does not withdraw and retract its decision to appoint Moana Pasifika as the primary partner within 14 days, Kanaloa Pasifika Rugby will file proceedings with the high court seeking an injunction to the tender process.

In a statement, New Zealand Rugby said it was engaging with Kanaloa Pasifika directly but stands by their process which it said was "rigorous and fair".

Crusaders celebrate. Crusaders vs. Highlanders. Super Rugby Aotearoa. Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand, Sunday 9 August 2020. © Copyright image by Martin Hunter / www.photosport.nzn

The same five New Zealand teams will contest Super Rugby Aotearoa in 2021. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2020

Last week the Pacific Rugby Players Association welcomed the news that the region would finally have a team of its own in Super Rugby.

Chief Executive, Aayden Clarke, said while there was still details to work through, the Fiji and Moana Pasifika bids offered the best of both worlds.

"Having one there with Fiji, who've got a strong player base and very good high performance systems already set up.

"And if there's to be Moana Pasifika based out of initially New Zealand, which as you expect could possibly accommodate for a lot of Samoan and Tongan players, it's sort of two different systems being set up and being ready to go for 2022 but it's very much achievable and they'll be very strong teams."

Moana Pasifika is backed by a heavyweight group, including All Blacks legends Sir Bryan Williams and Sir Michael Jones, who are former and current members of the New Zealand Rugby Board.

Bryan Williams.

Sir Bryan Williams is among the supporters of Moana Pasifika Photo: Photosport

However the overseas-based Pacific Rugby Players Welfare group expressed concern.

CEO and former Samoa international, Daniel Leo, said New Zealand Rugby needed to clarify how they came to their decision.

"As long as I've been involved with Pacific Island rugby the finger has constantly been pointed at the islands for their poor goverance, conflicts of interest involving officials, the lack of transparency and proper process and we've had funding frozen in the past due to those concerns."