Success key to Super Rugby survival: ARU

Matt Coughlan

The Brumbies will survive in Super Rugby as long as they marry on-field success with financial sustainability, according to ARU chief operating officer Rob Clarke.

SANZAAR, the governing body of Super Rugby, will meet next month to map out a plan for the future structure of the competition.

While the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels are the two Australian franchises most at risk if the number of teams is reduced, the Brumbies off-field turmoil in the past year has led to some fears the ACT club could be on the chopping block.

Clarke, who was Brumbies chief executive from 2003-2005, backed new boss Michael Thomson to lead the club back to financial success.

"There's a lot of effort going in to make sure the Brumbies are financially sustainable and certainly their performance on the field under Stephen Larkham can't be questioned," Clarke said.

"If those two things come together, that should secure a good future."

Clarke said the direction of the competition was complex and each country involved in the joint venture faced individual challenges.

"We have to marry what is our priorities with the priorities of the joint venture and see if we can come up with a solution that works for everybody," Clarke said.

"Ultimately it's not going to be a perfect fit for everybody and there'll be some sacrifices that are going to be made.

"Exactly what they are and how that plays out won't be known right now but will become clear in the following weeks."

The Brumbies remain Australia's most successful franchise and have entrenched themselves in the nation's capital, Clarke said.

"You don't axe or walk away from a successful product," he said.

"It's our collective challenge in Australia rugby to make sure our products are successful.

"If the Brumbies keep doing that along with the other Super Rugby clubs and the Wallabies continue to be successful then we should have a healthy future."