Sunshine Coast bids for Super 15 licence - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sunshine Coast bids for Super 15 licence

By Jim Morton 23/07/2009 05:19:44 PM Comments (0)

Sunshine Coast has emerged as the Queensland bidder to be Australia's fifth team in the expanded Super 15 but will struggle to be treated as a serious contender.

The Sunshine Coast Rugby Union lodged a surprise expression of interest before Wednesday's deadline but know they face a major challenge without a minimum 15,000-seat stadium - a key plank of SANZAR's criteria.

SCRU chairman Glenn Ferguson admitted the bid team was relying upon SANZAR having faith the Sunshine Coast would have a stadium built if they gain the 15th licence ahead of six other Australian syndicates, plus two from New Zealand and the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Although it appears the bid is strategic in agitating for a stadium at Kawana in the future, Ferguson insisted they were serious about their interest in 2011 inclusion.

"We're going into this with our eyes open," Ferguson said. "We're not naive that it's all going to be approved but we've got a vision.

"We're serious about this bid, our biggest issue is the stadium but we think we tick all the boxes with the rest of the criteria."

Melbourne, losers to Perth for Super 14 inclusion in 2005, remains the front-runner to gain the licence despite three separate syndicates all putting their hands up on Wednesday.

Two advantages the Sunshine Coast can claim they possess is being an untapped region for national sports teams and an unnamed wealthy benefactor who can provide the $5 million investment needed to run the team each season.

But onlookers, who have watched the Sunshine Coast Stingrays battle to get off the bottom of the Queensland club premiership's ladder since inclusion, are pessimistic about the SCRU's chances.

"It's an intention of ambition," said one major Sunshine Coast rugby identity.

"They haven't got a stadium, there's a criteria that's plainly there for people to see that you need a stadium to seat 15,000 spectators.

"They haven't got a stadium that seats 300."

Meantime, the NSWRU has warned of the dangers of another NSW team being included in the competition and competing with the Waratahs, who would struggle to keep sponsors if there was a second team in the state.

Both Western Sydney and NSW Country are bidding for the vacancy but NSWRU chief executive officer Jim L'Estrange was particularly wary of the commercial ramifications on the Waratahs.

"Another team in NSW would certainly have an effect on the Waratahs both on and off their field," L'Estrange said.

"In a commercial sense, there would be another team competing for the same dollar across the same geographical footprint.

"We believe that footprint is already being well-served by NSW Rugby and the Waratahs and we will continue in that same direction."

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