Andrew Cox: The Kiwi owner of Rebels Super rugby team who has Australian rugby - and Sanzaar - over a barrel

This is the New Zealander who has the Australian Rugby Union over a $9 million plus barrel and the future of Super Rugby in his hands.

Melbourne Rebels owner Andrew Cox is either set to land an astonishing financial windfall or force Sanzaar to abandon its plan to cull an Australian team from Super Rugby.

Cox, who reportedly only paid $A1 for the Rebels license when it was originally granted to him by the ARU, has become the central figure in the Aussie Super Rugby squabble.

Rebels owner Andrew Cox. Photo / Supplied
Rebels owner Andrew Cox. Photo / Supplied

Australian media report Cox is willing to sell his license back to the ARU for $A9m. That would allow the national union to collapse the team and adhere to Sanzaar's demand of axing a team.

The saga took another twist yesterday when senior Wallabies banded together with the Australian Rugby Union Players' Association to force the ARU to call a special general meeting.

The association is against any plan for the ARU to buy back from the Rebels from Christchurch-born Cox.

Questioning the ARU being reportedly prepared to spend "between six and ten million dollars" to buy and shut down the Rebels, players boss Ross Xenos said if it was clear there was no financial gain then Australia "should stop uppercutting itself back the retention of five teams and get on with fighting enemies outside the tent."

Frustrated by "the ongoing uncertainty and secrecy", the players association said it wanted a "transparent" update from the national union on the drawn out process on whether the Rebels or Perth-based Western Force will be culled.

But it is Cox who holds most of cards heading into the showdown.

Australian media suggest the relatively unknown Kiwi, who made his money in the mergers and acquisitions area, holds the whip-hand in what the Sydney Daily Telegraph branded a "fiasco".

The Telegraph claimed "discussions" had already been held with "influential Australian rugby figures about potentially rolling the ARU board and CEO Bill Pulver at the special meeting.

Influential critics of the ARU believe a radical upheaval is needed, with the board and senior leadership replaced and a new strategic direction taken with five teams retained in Super Rugby.

Questioning the ARU being reportedly prepared to spend "between six and ten million dollars" to buy and shut down the Rebels, Xenos said if it was clear there was no financial gain then Australia "should stop uppercutting itself back the retention of five teams and get on with fighting enemies outside the tent."

WHO IS ANDREW COX
•A Christchurch-born and raised sports fanatic who graduated from Canterbury university with a commerce degree.
•Forged his way up the corporate banking ladder in New Zealand before moving across the Tasman. His father David was a long-serving Christchurch city councillor.
•Has over 25 years of business management experience in organisational change, corporate finance and marketing.
•Owns the luxury Queenstown private boutique hotels Eichardt's, which has a $10,000 a night penthouse, and The Spire Hotel.
•Played representative hockey for Canterbury. One of his first business ventures was a bar in Cashel St called 124.
•Admits he has "always loved" the Crusaders but now considers the Melbourne Rebels as "my new team".

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 30 May 2017 18:31:01 Processing Time: 1088ms