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Details of Silver Lake’s buy-in of New Zealand Rugby revealed

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Results from another huge weekend of sport. Video / NZ Herald

By RNZ

New Zealand Rugby has confirmed the sale price for the buy in of US tech giant Silver Lake to the game here.

In papers released for tomorrow’s AGM which will be asked to approve the deal, Silver Lake will get a 12.5 percent stake in a new entity call Commercial LP for $387 and half million.

The new entity will control NZR’s commercial interests.

Up to $43.75 million of the sale price will be committed to working capital for Commercial LP, along with a proportionate contribution from Silver Lake.

The document said $39m will be distributed to stakeholders, such as provincial unions.

A legacy fund will be established to ensure the sustainability of rugby at all levels.

The details around the Silver Lake deal the NZR AGM will be asked to approve. Photo / NZ Rugby
The details around the Silver Lake deal the NZR AGM will be asked to approve. Photo / NZ Rugby

More than nine months in the making, the deal must receive backing from more than 50 percent of the country’s provincial rugby unions at the AGM along with the approval of the New Zealand Rugby Players Association.

A California-based private equity firm, in 2019 Silver Lake acquired a 10 percent stake in City Football Group (CFG), which owns English Premier League side Manchester City and teams in the United States, Australia and China.

An investment in one of the most famous brands in world sport would expand the buyout giant’s $US 75 billion ($NZ 104 billion) portfolio of companies, most of which are technology and sports venues and teams, according to its website.

Silver Lake was in the news last week as part of the European Super League crisis in which 12 European football clubs tried to set up an alternative competition to the Champions League, before it fell apart from public opposition.

Former New Zealand Rugby chief executive David Moffett told RNZ recently he struggled to see where the value for Silver Lake is.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson. Photo / Photosport
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson. Photo / Photosport

He wondered if there would be meaningless exhibition games for the All Blacks and a greater stake in New Zealand Rugby will be the ultimate outcome of the deal.

“Silver Lake are not benefactors,” he told RNZ’s Extra Time. “They are not going to pump a whole lot of money into New Zealand Rugby without expecting a return (so) I am struggling to see how they can increase the revenue return to NZR and ultimately themselves that New Zealand Rugby haven’t been able to do on their own.

“After all, they (NZR) are the biggest rugby brand in the world. They are right up there with Manchester United and some of those other great sporting brands.

“There wouldn’t be a door that (chief executive Mark Robinson) couldn’t open to talk about raising money… so what happens if this doesn’t work out?”

All 12 of the country’s minor provincial unions have come out in support of the deal.

“We believe it is time for our views to be heard because rugby for all of our players and participants starts in our communities and Heartland Rugby is all about community rugby,” Heartland group chair Bridget Belsham.

“The grassroots level of the game is the cornerstone of rugby in New Zealand and we see the Silver Lake partnership with NZ Rugby vital in ensuring community rugby survives,” she said.

“Rugby is facing immense challenges and investment into the community game must happen now. There are more than 150,000 rugby players in New Zealand and millions of fans.

“We believe this opportunity deserves our unconditional support and is required to secure the long term future of rugby in our country”.

The final hurdle fo the deal going through could be an agreement with the players.

A mediator has been called in to try and resolve a stand off between NZ Rugby (NZR) and the Players Association (NZRPA).

– RNZ

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USA Rugby

Seaside rugby player prepares for Tokyo Olympics

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U.S. rugby player and Seaside High School graduate Matai Leuta has arrived in Japan ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.Leuta was born in Salinas but spent 10 years of his childhood in Fiji. There, he developed a love for rugby and the dream of becoming a professional player. “It is a very popular sport on the island. Every kid fantasizes about growing up and being a professional rugby player. That was instilled in me very early,” Leuta said.When Leuta was 16, he and his family returned to the Central Coast. He played at Seaside High School and graduated in 2008.On the Central Coast, Leuta continued playing club rugby while holding a full-time job. In 2015, a friend reached out to him and changed everything. “I was working at the Marriott in downtown Monterey and a friend of mine sent me a link about a tryout down here in San Diego with the national team,” Leuta said.Leuta jumped at the opportunity, traveling to southern California and gaining the attention of national scouts. He was invited to the USA Men’s Falcons squad and made his debut during the 2014-15 HSBC Sevens Series at the Hong Kong Sevens tournament.Now, Leuta is an Olympian. He has been named to the U.S. Men’s Sevens team for the Tokyo Olympics. “I am really humbled and excited at the same time to represent, not just my family, but this country and hopefully I can perform to the best of my ability,” he said.Team USA will play their first match on July 26 against Kenya.

U.S. rugby player and Seaside High School graduate Matai Leuta has arrived in Japan ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

Leuta was born in Salinas but spent 10 years of his childhood in Fiji. There, he developed a love for rugby and the dream of becoming a professional player.

“It is a very popular sport on the island. Every kid fantasizes about growing up and being a professional rugby player. That was instilled in me very early,” Leuta said.

When Leuta was 16, he and his family returned to the Central Coast. He played at Seaside High School and graduated in 2008.

On the Central Coast, Leuta continued playing club rugby while holding a full-time job. In 2015, a friend reached out to him and changed everything.

“I was working at the Marriott in downtown Monterey and a friend of mine sent me a link about a tryout down here in San Diego with the national team,” Leuta said.

Leuta jumped at the opportunity, traveling to southern California and gaining the attention of national scouts. He was invited to the USA Men’s Falcons squad and made his debut during the 2014-15 HSBC Sevens Series at the Hong Kong Sevens tournament.

Now, Leuta is an Olympian. He has been named to the U.S. Men’s Sevens team for the Tokyo Olympics.

“I am really humbled and excited at the same time to represent, not just my family, but this country and hopefully I can perform to the best of my ability,” he said.

Team USA will play their first match on July 26 against Kenya.

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He once starred in the SDSU backfield. Now he’s working to keep his NFL dream alive

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SAN DIEGO – Juwan Washington had quite a bit of success with his former team. Racking up numerous accolades in his four years in the backfield at San Diego State, the now 24-year-old hopes to remind NFL scouts of that college player.

Washington missed the opportunity to attend any pro days due to the pandemic, unable to prove to scouts that a previous ankle injury had healed.

“I talked to the trainers for the (Houston) Texans, so they wanted me to come in and get looked at but that didn’t happen with the Pro Day stuff getting canceled,” Washington said.

Months later, Washington thought he had a solid opportunity with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL. But it didn’t last for long. He got cut a couple weeks ago.

“It motivated me a lot,” he said. “I just started working even harder just to get a chance.”

Could a third time be the charm? He has yet another opportunity this weekend to show off his talent at a HUB Football camp at Helix Charter High School in La Mesa, where he’ll work out in front of NFL, CFL, USFL and USA Rugby scouts.

Washington joins four other former Aztecs at the camp this weekend, including cornerback Kyree Woods, tackle Ryan Pope, defensive end Myles Cheatham and linebacker Kyahva Tezino.

“I’m super excited just to go out there and show what I can do in person,” Washington said. “I know there’ll be a few scouts there from East League and stuff, so if they can just see me in person and just compare it to the film that I have from college.”

Washington trains five to six days a week, coming to places like Werk Fitness in La Mesa. That’s where he and his childhood friend and trainer, Landon Beamon, put in the work.

“Juwan, he’s a beast,” Beamon said. “Every time he comes here, he gives his all. He gives his all, so I’ve seen a lot of progress from him. He’s just more explosive. His knee’s looking good, over strength.”

When he’s not with Beamon, Washington works out with old teammates looking for their own shot, too.

“I’m still the same person from the film in college,” Washington said. “I just want to remind them that I’m still the same guy that ran for almost a thousand yards. I was one yard away.”

“He has God with him, so he’s going to be okay,” Beamon said. “He’s going to beast it. He’s going to beast out.”

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USA Rugby

After 36 Hours of Travel, Eagle Men Arrive in Japan With a Job To Do

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Traveling to Japan was a big long slog for the USA 7s teams getting ready for the Olympics, but they’ve made it.

The trip from San Diego to LA to Seoul (where they took COVID tests) to Tokyo and then on the Mimasaka took 36 hours. Grueling, for sure, but worth it.

A Warm Welcome

“Considering everything, it actually went quite smoothly,” said Brett Thompson. “I’m sure it was a logistical nightmare, but we got here and our training pitch is beautiful and our gym is perfect—we couldn’t ask for more.”

As captain Madison Hughes was keeping an eye on the team and how they were feeling, and he was happy with what he saw.

“The guys did a really good job of focusing on what we could control during the travel,” he said. “They stayed positive throughout and now it’s about getting dialed in and used to the local time zone and climate.”

“A lot of it was sitting around waiting for tests to come back,” added Danny Barrett. The COVID tests all came back negative and so they moved on to the next thing. Having heard the horror stories, such as South Africa having to go into quarantine because someone not on the team, but who was on their flight, tested positive, they were grateful to get the all-clear.

“We’ve been under pretty strict orders to make sure we’re doing everything in our power to be able to compete,” said Barrett. “Once we got on the ground it’s business as usual. Get in the gym, ride the bike a little bit, lift a bit of weight; get out on the field kind of get moving again, get a ball back in your hands.”

The biggest worry? Food. Would the food be what they’re used to. This topic has cropped up now and then with the team, as nutrition is a big part of their training, and if it gets changed up sometimes that throws off the players. All good in Mimasaka, where the players had only praise for the USOPC staff and their hotel staff for making their stay easy.

So Who Are They Worried About?

Worried? No one. Focused on? Well, there’s that first game.

“Kenya,” said Hughes. “The first game is the big one for me. That’s where it went wrong for us in Rio. We can’t really overlook that first one because if we don’t get the job done there, it becomes pretty difficult.”

We’re taking it like any tournament

And although there’s been no World Series for over a year, there have been 7s tournaments, and, Barrett pointed out, “we saw Ireland in the UK, we saw Kenya out in Spain, and those are two important games. We’ll worry about South Africa once we get through Kenya and Ireland. We are focusing on them and what they do and what we can do to counteract, but we’re also focusing on ourselves—what do we need to work on, what do we need to freshen up, what do we need to continue to get batter at, and what do we need to hone in our skills.”

Hughes agreed.

“We believe when we focus on ourselves and we’re performing at the top of our game and doing what we need to do we can perform with anyone.”

USA Men’s Olympic 7s Schedule:

See NBC Schedule here>>

Day One
USA vs Kenya —Eastern Time 10:30pm July 25
USA vs Ireland—Eastern Time 5:30am July 26

Day Two
USA vs South Africa — Eastern Time 10:30pm July 26
Knockout Rounds begin at 5:00am Eastern Time

Day Three
Medal Rounds

 



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