Highlanders to settle debt

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Highlanders_liquidation1 Getty Images The Highlanders will start settling their debts by the end of the month.

The cash-strapped Otago Rugby Union (ORFU) will come to a settlement with all of its creditors by the end of the month and can look forward to a “brighter future”, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) said on Thursday.

The ORFU faced liquidation in March because they could not service NZ$2.35 million of debt, pay players' wages and administrative staff or their bills.

Smaller creditors will receive everything they are owed, while bigger companies will get NZ$5,000 and half of what they are owed above that.

The terms of the rescue package, which included a long-term loan of NZ$500,000 from the NZRU, meant the directors had to resign and a new board has now been appointed.

“The stage is now set for the union to face the future with confidence,” NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said in a news release.

“We thank all our partners who have worked hard over the last few months to ensure this 131-year-old rugby institution can survive and play its part in the Otago community.”

The Dunedin-based Otago Highlanders Super Rugby team were not impacted by the crisis having being hived off from the ORFU as a separate legal entity.

The ORFU run the representative team in New Zealand's semi-professional provincial competition and community rugby. – Reuters

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