Former Wallabies Captain Rocky Elsom Determined To Save Melbourne Rebels
Former Wallabies captain Rocky Elsom is understood to have examined Super Rugby side Melbourne Rebels' books and is "determined to press ahead with plans to buy the franchise to save it from closure," according to Wayne Smith of THE AUSTRALIAN. Elsom signed a confidentiality agreement with Rebels Owner Andrew Cox and "refused to discuss his negotiations with him, but in a wider conversation he was insistent that retaining five Super Rugby teams was indispensable for Australian rugby." Elsom said, "Five teams has to be sustainable. If you can’t make five teams work, then there is no hope of a trans-Tasman competition that Australia should be working towards." There was some conjecture that the Australian Rugby Union had to "approve of any new buyer of the Rebels and hence would block Elsom’s consortium" because it wanted to secure the Melbourne license itself "in order to shut down the franchise." Elsom, however, is "adamant" that Cox can sell the license without ARU approval. With the estimated sale price varying between A$6M ($4.5M) and A$10M ($7.4M), Elsom’s "determination to save the Rebels could be tested." By selling the franchise to Elsom rather than to the ARU, Cox "would have honoured his commitment to his players and staff that he would not sell out to the national body if the ARU’s intention was to terminate the club" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/19).