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ARU takes Brumbies back after another Super flop

Rugby Australia could take Brumbies games away from the capital, Canberra, to places like Melbourne.

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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 outfit agreed on Tuesday to transfer operational control to RA.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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“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 are several 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.”

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