The NZR Board’s decision to make the licence unconditional comes three months after Moana Pasifika was granted a conditional licence, giving it the impetus to ramp up its planning and satisfy its financial obligations.
NZR CEO Mark Robinson said having the conditions of the licence removed marked another significant moment:
“Moana Pasifika can now formalise some key agreements with coaches, players and partners as they work toward taking the field alongside our Super Rugby clubs in next year’s professional competition.
“A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes and it will be exciting for everyone to watch developments in the coming weeks and months.”
Robinson said NZR was also working closely with the other conditional licence holder, the Fijian Drua, who were progressing well toward meeting the conditions of their licence – albeit the current COVID-19 situation in Fiji has complicated the final steps.
Rugby Australia (RA) and NZR continue to work together toward finalising the structure for next year’s Super Rugby tournament based on the inclusion of Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua in a 12-team competition.
Moana Pasifika took the field for the first time on 5 December last year when they played the Māori All Blacks in Hamilton and were granted a conditional licence to join next year’s professional competition on 14 April this year.