- Thursday 23 July 2009
In less than two years the Sunshine Coast’s own world-class rugby union team could be hosting eight international matches televised across Australia and around the world.
Sunshine Coast Rugby Union has officially applied to the sport’s governing body SANZR to be home to Super Rugby’s newest team, expanding the existing Super 14 tournament to a 24-week competition between 15 teams in 2011.
Council’s Economic Development spokesman Lew Brennan said success in their bid for the competition’s 15th spot would see the region rocket onto the world rugby union stage.
Cr Brennan said it represented a significant opportunity and Council was 100% behind Sunshine Coast Rugby Union’s efforts.
“The Sunshine Coast is ready to do business with the world and having an internationally competitive team based here could bring major benefits to our region,” Cr Brennan said.
“Council is always open to working with individuals, community groups and businesses who are seeking to market the unique assets and lifestyle we have to offer and can add value to our economy.”
Cr Brennan’s comments were strongly supported by Deputy Mayor Tim Dwyer, who has been a long-time and passionate advocate of expanding the region’s sports industry.
Cr Dwyer said the Sunshine Coast already has runs on the board through hosting highly-regarded world-class sporting events such as the Mooloolaba and Noosa triathlons and the Australian PGA Golf Championship at Coolum.
“If Sunshine Coast Rugby Union is successful and we have a team based here, it would be fantastic for encouraging more kids to get into sport, fantastic for our region’s profile and fantastic for the local economy,” he said.
Sunshine Coast Regional Council has recently resolved to seek expressions of interest for the development of a multi use sports facility at Stockland Park.
Cr Brennan said forecast growth on the Coast combined with advantages such as world standard training facilities, local airport access, competitive housing prices and undeniable natural assets could give this region the edge against its rivals.
The Super 14 Rugby Union competition is currently made up of five teams from both New Zealand and South Africa and four teams from Australia.
SANZAR is expected to announce its decision on the 15th Super Rugby team by November.