New Zealand plotting stunning multi-billion dollar escape from World Rugby

New Zealand Rugby has engaged in talks with a multi-billion-dollar American investment firm about taking a stake in the struggling sport.

In what could prove a landmark moment in the game’s long and storied history, NZ Rugby have been wooing private-equity giants Silver Lake with the prospect of adding New Zealand rugby to a sports portfolio that includes global cash machine the UFC.

Although they remain some way from a deal, it has been described as a sea-change attitude for an organisation steeped in tradition and natural conservatism.

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