Doubts over New Zealand franchise

The New Zealand Bartercard Cup side announced their intentions to apply for a Super League franchise in 2009 having failed in their application to join the NRL Telstra Premiership, the place instead going to Gold Coast Titans.

"The idea has been mentioned but I can't see how it could possibly work," said Lewis, who is behind the introduction of the franchise system in 2009. "I asked them to give us some details and I haven't heard anything since."

New Zealand Rugby League acting chairman Andrew Chalmers said: "The point when the NRL chose to expand into Queensland, we started giving thought to what an alternative might mean.

Chalmers also believes that a New Zealand side in Super League would increase the competition’s profile worldwide, saying: "This would increase the value of sponsorship and TV rights."

New Zealand’s current NRL franchise the Warriors have given the proposal their backing, but chief executive Wayne Scurrah added that it is difficult to see such a move coming to fruition.

"Good luck to them if it is something they think could work," he said. "It is hard to contemplate the logistics, it would be a massive challenge, but whatever is good for rugby league is positive."

The NRL have not raised any objections to the proposals, chief executive David Gallop saying: "It's hard to see where we would have a basis to object to it. We will watch further developments with interest.”

Speculation is that the new system in 2009 could see Super League franchises handed to clubs in London, France, Wales and Ireland, with Moscow also rumoured to be under consideration.

A revolutionary idea or pie in the sky? Give your view on the possibility of a New Zealand franchise in Super League here.

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