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ARU confident of finding new title sponsor ahead of 2017 Super Rugby season

Australian Rugby Union chief operating officer Rob Clarke has said he is confident the body will find a new title sponsor for the Super Rugby club competition before its 2017 season begins next month.

Super Rugby in Australia has been without a title sponsor since August, when insurance company Asteron Life opted to end its partnership with the ARU. Asteron Life signed a three-year deal with the body in 2014 but chose not to extend the agreement beyond last season.

The 2017 campaign begins on February 23 and Clarke admitted that it was a “concern” that the ARU has so far been unable to secure a replacement, but insisted the competition is still an attractive proposition for prospective backers.

“Based on the conversations we’re having, with the type of corporations we are talking to, Super Rugby is still an attractive proposition, but I think it needs to be clearly understood,” Clarke told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

“We've had some challenges on that side of things, with competition structures and teams, and I think getting clarity around where Super Rugby sits, who participates in it, and what the future direction will be, will all help build a product we can go to market with confidently and have the stats behind it to support it.

“But the two or three companies we're talking to are global brands, it's not as though we're being forced down to the local chicken shop or the motor repair mechanic. We're not in the territory and hopefully never will be.”