ACT Brumbies chairman Matthew Nobbs says the sport must investigate private equity and partnership options to ensure rugby's survival, backing Rugby Australia board member Peter Wiggs to help a revival.
The chairmen and chief executives of Australia's Super Rugby franchises will meet again on Thursday to discuss restart proposals and financial stability in the hope of launching again in the coming months.
Nobbs and Brumbies boss Phil Thomson answered questions from fans during an online forum on Wednesday night, detailing their hope of playing again this year, the impact of Raelene Castle's departure and addressing financial and crowd concerns.
Thomson also said winger Toni Pulu had been caught in the elective surgery shutdown, meaning he is still waiting for a shoulder reconstruction two months after first suffering the injury.
It means Pulu will be ruled out of any possibly rugby restart this year and could have an impact on his immediate playing future given he is in the final year of his contract in Canberra.
Rugby Australia is working with stakeholders to launch a domestic competition or a trans-Tasman format, which could include the Western Force and teams from Asia, to replace the old Super Rugby format.
Nobbs also said the Brumbies board was meeting every fortnight to stay on top of the businesses viability.
Australian rugby has lurched from drama to drama in recent years, highlighted by the Israel Folau saga and hitting a low when Castle quit last week.
The lack of games due to coronavirus restrictions has thrust the off-field woes into the spotlight again and the plight of cash-strapped clubs.
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"To survive and buck the trend, I think the discussion on private equity and ownership is one we must have," Nobbs said.
"We've also got to look at partnerships, to see if there's an opportunity for us to partner with someone in Asia. It opens the doors to other markets as far as sponsorships go.
"... The biggest issue is the broadcast deal. Broadcast money is one of the buckets we rely heavily on."
Thomson said there was a "good chance" the Brumbies would play again this year, with the sport likely to follow the NRL back on to the field as soon as possible.
Membership packages are "in a holding pattern", with some fans in the forum saying they did not want refunds for lost games so far this year.
"I can't give you an exact date and things have to fall into place. There are certainly things that need to fall in the place and there has been a lot of modelling done about what the competition and start dates might look like.
"It's important as an organisation and a sport that we're ready to go when the government health authorities give us the all clear. It's very complex and the No. 1 priority is the health and wellbeing of our participants.
"Hopefully we have a bit more certainty in the next couple of weeks ... All I can say is that things are looking positive."
Meanwhile, incoming Wallabies coach Dave Rennie remains "very committed" to taking charge of Australia despite major disappointment over the sudden departure of the woman who appointed him.
Reports claimed Rennie could think twice about taking the role after fellow New Zealander Raelene Castle last week left her job as Rugby Australia chief executive days after 10 former Wallabies captains joined forces to call for change in the union.
But Rennie confirmed he would still take the job as planned when his Warriors contract runs out at the end of June.
"I'm really gutted at the decision to move Raelene on," he said on Tuesday.
"As I have stated all along, she's a big part of the reason I decided to sign with Australia.
"I was really impressed with her. She had a real clear plan of what the next few years would look like.
"So I'm really disappointed. But she exited with real dignity and class and the first thing she said to me was she still wants me to go to Australia.
"I'm disappointed with the decision and clearly I wanted to have a chat with the board and get clarity about what the plan looks like now but I'm still very committed."
Rennie has been in regular contact with director of rugby Scott Johnson, who previously worked with the Scottish Rugby Union, and has already selected a wide group of "players of national interest" in conjunction with his future coaching colleagues.
"I have been speaking to a lot of different people who we brought into the group and people who are also affected by the decision," he added.
"We have been doing a lot of work and preparation for whenever the season comes around."
- with AAP