Greg Ford, Sunday Star Times
Sunday Star-Times sources confirmed the gloomy news, which comes in the wake of last year’s record $16m loss.
Unlike many of its stakeholder unions, who are on the brink of insolvency, the NZRU is relatively flush.
At the beginning of last year it had $62m in cash and cash equivalents on its balance sheet – about half of that in foreign currency.
But that nest-egg, technically owned by the provinces (who own the NZRU), is now under intense pressure, with a massive $23.3m set to be carved off it to pay for this year’s financial shortfall and the NZRU’s share of Rugby World Cup losses.
Last week, in the Star-Times, the NZRU told the provinces not to expect a repeat of recent financial handouts dished out to tide them over during the economic recession.
We now know why.
Its finances are under intense pressure. And there’s only a glimmer of respite in sight.
The NZRU’s largest cost is player salaries. While several highly paid players are set to leave our shores later this year which will save them some money – the latest rumours include Chiefs first five Stephen Donald is off to Munster and Mils Muliaina to Japan after the world cup – three of the NZRU’s highest paid players, Richie McCaw, Dan Carter (above) and Ma’a Nonu, are set to stay. Carter was tipped to join Perpignan but the French club exhausted much of its budget recently when they signed Welshman James Hook.
Sources have also confirmed Carter has reasons closer to home not to move – his soon-to-be-wife, Honor Dillon. The former Blacks Sticks hockey international’s career as a marketer is flourishing.
Nonu has attracted considerable interest from offshore but is also set to re-commit to the NZRU on a short term deal in the coming weeks.