Brumbies scrap Vikings to introduce ACT Kookaburras for NRC season three

Brumbies scrap Vikings to introduce ACT Kookaburras for NRC season three

The ACT Brumbies will resist any push to centralise Super Rugby clubs in Australia, adamant the idea floated by the Western Force can work to boost the game.

The Brumbies are also set to make a huge move in mending wounds in the capital's club competition by scrapping the Canberra Vikings to introduce an ACT Kookaburras team to the National Rugby Championship.

The Brumbies will reintroduce the ACT Kookaburras as a representative team for the NRC rather than the Canberra Vikings.

The Brumbies will reintroduce the ACT Kookaburras as a representative team for the NRC rather than the Canberra Vikings.Credit:Bradley Kanaris

The state of Australian rugby has taken a huge hit in recent weeks, with the Queensland Reds reporting a loss of more than $1.4 million, sacking coach Richard Graham and chief executive Jim Carmichael stepping down.

The Waratahs have appointed a new chief executive while the Force are in a horror financial position and need help from the ARU, while Brumbies boss Michael Jones is fending off rumours about his future.


A potential merger between Australian Super Rugby clubs has been on the table for at least two years as powerbrokers considered having teams hand in their independence to report to a head of Super Rugby at the ARU.

The issue has been reinvented as the Force struggle in the tough Perth market and chief executive Mark Sinderberry floated the prospect of a standalone organisation in Australia to focus on Super Rugby.

However, Jones said the Brumbies would not be part of that plan.

"In my 23 years as a [chief executive] I've seen plenty of consultants come in and talk about centralised models and shared services," Jones said.

"My chairman [Robert Kennedy] is one of the most experienced guys in the country in that area. We are not of the scale to achieve the economies of scale a centralised model would actually achieve.

"The uniqueness of each of the individual markets requires individual attention to it for membership, sales, servicing and sponsorship. I do not believe a centralised model can work at all, I'm not a fan of it.

"I have suggested to the ARU that they should invest more time looking at a decentralised model, so why don't they become centralised. They don't own a team or player … why do they have a full 140 staff?"

The Brumbies played the Cape Town Stormers in South Africa on Sunday morning.

They will play against the Free State Cheetahs next week before returning to Canberra for a clash against the Waikato Chiefs.

Jones is hopeful of continuing to lure big crowds to Canberra Stadium after getting 33,000 fans through the gate at the first two home games of the season.

One big step to help ease any lingering tension in Canberra's club ranks will come as Jones and the Brumbies settle on the make up of a new team for the NRC.

The Canberra Vikings have played in the competition's first two years as a three-way partnership between the Brumbies, Vikings Group and University of Canberra.

The team name and colours – red and white – caused angst among the local rugby community.

However, that licence has expired and the Brumbies are considering reviving the Kookaburras – the traditional representative team from the ACT. The Kookaburras will wear traditional Canberra colours of blue, gold and white.

"In the NRC year we'll go into a combined team, it won't be the UC Vikings it will be the ACT Kookaburras playing in that competition," Jones said.

"There's a really bright future there and I hope everyone focuses on that and gets on board. I've been in discussions with the ARU and come season three we will have one Canberra team."

Chris Dutton is the sports editor at The Canberra Times.

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