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ESPN SCRUM / ESPNscrum Columnist
Greg Growden
Greg Growden | Columnist Index
After more than 30 years with The Sydney Morning Herald and Fairfax Media in Australia, Greg Growden now writes exclusively online for ESPNscrum. Never afraid to step on toes, you can expect plenty of compelling insight from one of Australia's most renowned rugby writers.
Ruck'n Maul
SANZAR pushing for Singapore Super Rugby side
Greg Growden
May 9, 2014
Who will captain the Wallabies given the form of the contenders in 2014?

A Super Rugby team based in Singapore, and another pay-television outlet interested in showing Australian matches. These are the latest revelations as SANZAR continues its ludicrous campaign to add more teams and conferences to an already over-stretched tournament.

New Zealand sources have told Ruck'n Maul that within SANZAR the push for a Super Rugby team in Singapore is intensifying. SANZAR officials have been eager for some time to have a Super Rugby base in Asia. The logic is confounding, though, especially if this Singapore team is supposed to be part of one of the two proposed conferences based in South Africa. The amount of travel required would be mind-blowing. Then again SANZAR has recently been the master of dopey decisions … so clearly the crazier the idea the better.

Meanwhile high-ranking Australian provincial officials have been told by the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) that there is "competitive tension" over the Super Rugby broadcasting rights. At last week's ARU meeting at which the SANZAR expansion plans were explained, snouts tell us the provincial officials in attendance were told that Fox Sports was not alone as a pay-TV broadcaster interested in showing Super Rugby matches in Australia, and there could be a bidding war. The identity of this other pay-TV operator is a mystery. Whether this is just part of an ARU stalling process will soon be discovered.

Divided Reds spiralling out of control

Queensland Reds' woes continue, with revelations of "vicious exchanges" between players last week, and major rifts within a divided camp. No wonder Melbourne Rebels, who missed out on Matt Toomua, who has opted to stay with the Brumbies, are targeting several Reds players to sign as the northern province implodes. The Rebels are understandably confident of luring several of the disenchanted Reds players. Also hardly good timing after several recent Reds losses, the first advertisement shown on Fox Sports featured Queensland team officials promoting certain whiz-bang vitamins. Considering the Reds' dreadful recent form, you wouldn't imagine these TV ads boosting sales.

Bob Dwyer not alone in seeking equity in Waratahs

After our exclusive in last week's Ruck'n Maul column over the Waratahs being targeted by several overseas buyers, including London Irish and Narbonne, the latest news is that five different groups have shown expressions of interest in having private equity in the financially struggling province. But one of those groups is in a bit of trouble and may have to withdraw from the race, as our snouts are adamant the tax man is investigating them.

Michael Cheika's treatment by SANZAR 'less than fair'

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika remains "tight-lipped" over his treatment by SANZAR after abusing a sideline cameraman during a match in Durban. Waratahs insiders are whispering about a "less than fair" SANZAR judiciary hearing, which hit him with a fine and a suspended six-month sentence, while a strange media release from SANZAR bringing up past incidents shocked some involved with the team. A senior official in the Moore Park offices is also in serious trouble because their partner made derogatory remarks about Cheika on social media after Spiro Zavos had defended the head coach in his Sydney Morning Herald column. No wonder Waratahs team officials want this forever bumbling official out of the place.

Force board member promises nude swim in Swan River

Not for the first time, certain Western Force officials have lost touch with reality. The Force are apparently so confident of winning in Bloemfontein to go top of the Australian conference that one board member has promised to swim nude in the Swan River on Sunday morning if it occurs. Go the Cheetahs!

Rumours of the Week

- Who is the teacher at one of Sydney's most prestigious private schools who is telling his students that he's actually Tah Man?

- Which Australian A-League soccer club recently received the CV of the chief executive officer of an Australian Super Rugby province? There are a quite a number at the rugby province hoping he gets the soccer job.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Join the conversation with Greg Growden on Twitter @GregGrowden

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