CEO Mark Robinson chats to media to finish the year

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) CEO Mark Robinson spoke to media yesterday after the final Board meeting of 2021.

In his opening comments Robinson covered a range of subjects that will be central to the organization in 2022, none more so than the focus on women and girls in rugby.

“The board discussed the significance of next year. It is an absolutely pivotal time in our sport with amazing pinnacle events at the forefront. For New Zealand to be at the epicentre of what will truly be a wonderful time in the women’s game is hugely exciting.

“We recognize we have to look at how we resource, promote and engage in this area in what will be a remarkable time for our sport.”

Robinson spoke about the proposed Silver Lake investment and confirmed that - while the conversations with Silver Lake and other stakeholders are ongoing - NZR will increase resource in the commercial team.

“We are still carrying on working with the RPA and Silver Lake but parallel to that we will now get moving and provide real action in supercharging some of the revenue opportunities we believe sit with NZR globally and domestically.

“Silver Lake are supportive of this approach, they will provide guidance and insights as we stand up this work within our organization which is a strong sign, along with the incredible patience they have shown over the past months, that we will get to a deal.

“In the interim we aren’t going to lose any more ground. The world is moving on, especially in my time in the Northern Hemisphere recently, the introduction of investment partners is having an immediate impact on the game.”

Robinson confirmed that NZR had sold their 40% share in the Blues club, to a local consortium in Auckland.

“We’re really excited to see what that means for the club moving forward, these are people who are highly invested and motivated to transform the fortunes of that club and growing on what was a successful year for them winning Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.”

He also spoke to the success of the New Zealand Sevens teams this year ahead of a big 2022 sevens season and reviews of both the All Blacks and Black Ferns seasons.