RugbyU: Australian Rugby posts large deficit

The Australian Rugby Union on Monday unveiled another large deficit but forecast a turnaround in the 2013 financial year due to the blockbuster British and Irish Lions tour.

The ARU announced a net deficit for last year of Aus$8.3 million ($8.5 million) -- a Aus$2.3 million ($2.3 million) improvement over the previous 2011 accounts at their annual general meeting.

While total revenues were up Aus$21 million from the World Cup year in 2011, when the ARU recorded a Aus$10.6 million loss, gross expenditure also increased to Aus$100.3 million.

Chairman Michael Hawker blamed the higher Australian dollar for a negative impact of Aus$7.5 million.

"While revenues were higher than the previous year, so was expenditure, which was primarily due to our continued investment in the game," Hawker said in an ARU statement.

"ARU's revenue growth was driven by a number of factors, including an increase in sponsorship and an increase in match day returns due to the increased domestic Test programme compared to 2011.

"These increases, combined with the expectation that this year's British and Irish Lions tour will deliver substantial financial gains to Australian rugby, provides the organisation an opportunity to better its financial position in 2013."

The Wallabies play three Tests against the Lions from June 22 to July 6.