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New Aussie Super 15 team in doubt

THE FUTURE of the Melbourne Super 15 franchise is in doubt after negotiations between investors and the Australian Rugby Union stalled.

The Australian Associated Press is reporting members of the VicSuper15 group and the ARU failed to reach an agreement about funding.

The ARU is offering the team an annual grant of A$3 million – up from the originally-offered $2.1m – but investors say that amount is insufficient to cover the set-up, player recruitment and marketing costs associated with the venture.

They are pushing for a $4.2 million grant which the existing Australian franchises receive. CLICK HERE to read more

Decision on Fijian cibi likely tomorrow

THE FIJI Rugby Union will meet tomorrow to decide whether national teams can perform the cibi (haka).

The Fijians abandoned the cibi during last month’s end-of-season tour of Europe after under-fire coach Sam Domoni labelled it a throwback to the days of heathen cannibalism

But according to reports on Stuff.co.nz, the FRU will decide how and when the pre-match haka can be performed. CLICK HERE to read more.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Times is reporting the union will back Domoni, despite being heavily criticised by the media and players for his conduct during the European tour. CLICK HERE to read more.

Bowe to stick with Ospreys

IRELAND and British Lions wing Tommy Bowe has re-signed with Welsh club Ospreys for a further three seasons.

Bowe – who has been in scintillating form, scoring 18 tries in 34 appearances for the region – inked deal reportedly worth £500,000 that will keep him at the Swansea-based club until 2012-13 season.

“I just feel all the ingredients are here for long-term success and I’m very excited about what we can achieve,” Bowe told the Daily Mail.

The 25-year-old knocked back generous offers from several European clubs, including Irish heavyweight Munster, Leinster and Ulster. CLICK HERE to read more.

Leinster name Schmidt as new coach

FORMER Auckland Blues assistant Joe Schmidt has been named as coach of  Leinster, according to the Irish Times.

Schmidt (right) has been working as a backs coach for the past three years at Clermont Auvergne where, alongside fellow Kiwi Vern Cotter, he has guided the French Club to three consecutive Top 14 finals.

The 44-year-old signed a three-year deal with the defending Heineken Cup champions and will replace Australian Michael Cheika at the start of the 2010-11 season.

He is likely to be assisted at the Dublin-based club by compatriot and former All Black, Chiefs and Waikato loose forward Jonno Gibbes.

Schmit comes with a good track record, also helping the Blues win the Super 12 in 2003 and Bay of Plenty lift the Ranfurly Shield for the first time a year later. CLICK HERE to read more.

Fans to pay through nose for RWC tickets

PUNTERS will need deep pockets if they are to afford tickets to the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The Dominion Post reports House of Travel and Seasonz Travel will begin selling package deal to rugby’s showpiece event from January 1.

Deals including tickets to the semi-finals and the final would likely cost thousands of dollars, say the travel agencies.

Package deals are only way people can buy tickets at the moment.

Venue and team pool packs (excluding the semi final and final) and individual tickets will go on sale in April and September respectively.

Around 1.7 million tickets will be available, with prices ranging from $30 for a pool match to $1250 for the final at Eden Park. CLICK HERE to read more.