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NZ Rugby in a healthy state heading towards World Cup and Olympics

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Sportal.co.nz     25 Mar 2014     Getty Images

It is a healthy result and is boosted even further with 10 of the 12 Heartland second division sides also in the profit area. In the process the total turnover of the Union had shown that rugby was a $200million business now.

NZ Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said the Union came in $2.1million ahead of budget and part of the reason for that was an unanticipated $850,000 from the Test match played in Japan.

NZR's chief financial controller Jannine Mountford said the Union had set $50million as the appropriate minimum level for its cash reserves but that amount will be reviewed again once the forthcoming Sanzar deal is announced for television rights.

They would need to dip into those reserves on occasions in the future as the Union has a projected loss of $7.2 million in 2018 and of $14.2 million in 2020.

These would come after an anticipated profit of $7.5million in 2017 when the British and Irish Lions will tour New Zealand. However, efforts would be made to improve those forecasts.

Part of the reason the Union had been able to finish in a good position since the implementation of the Adidas sponsorship was that its funds had been hedged on the Euro which had provided them with $6million a year because the hedging had been done at a rate they couldn't get now.

Tew said the British and Irish Lions tour was an important part of the future and the 2017 tour would coincide with the celebration of 125 years of the New Zealand Rugby Union.

Mountford said the ITM Cup unions were in the black to the amount of $3.3million which was healthy when remembering the profit in 2012 was $620,000 with only nine of the 14 unions in the black.

The Heartland unions were in credit to the tune of $190,000.

Tew outlined the goals the NZR had set. These included going back-to-back in Rugby World Cups for the All Blacks. That would be difficult, he said, because no team had achieved the feat and New Zealand hadn't won the Cup away from home.

However, the British and Irish Lions tour was proving a significant carrot for players signing through to 2017.

Winning two golds in the Sevens at Rio de Janiero was another goal but again, just how hard that task would be was apparent from New Zealand's fourth placing at the Tokyo Sevens at the weekend. Sevens was becoming much more competitive.

He added that players' thoughts were starting to turn towards the Olympic Sevens in 2016 and there had already been requests for consideration for possible Sevens bids when players were renegotiating contracts.

However, he said the Union and coach Gordon Tietjens felt that players would need to commit to Sevens for the whole season in 2016 because players would need to have played for all the IRB Sevens Series to be ready for the Olympic assault.

Tew said in keeping with its plans to grow the game 1700 teenagers had been surveyed about the game, and they had been listened to. There were going to be more teenage coaching courses and a new Under-19 tournament is to be played in Taupo this year.

The Union would also continue to work towards rugby being the game of choice in Auckland. They were attempting to be flexible and aggressive in their work in this area and were working on an inter-union club competition while also looking at the way rugby was branded. They would work with the City Council and local boards and other partners in achieving these aims.

And they wanted to have a positive global presence in rugby.