For­rest takes swing at ARU

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - IAIN PAYTEN

B I L L I O N A I R E W e s t e r n Force backer Andrew For­rest has ac­cused the Aus­tralian Rugby Union of “cow­ardly” tac­tics in the Su­per Rugby saga and said they’re tar­get­ing the Force for re­moval be­cause they’re out of sight in WA.

For­rest’s spray came as the ARU and Rugby WA con­tin­ued to play the wait­ing game for a re­sult from last week’s ar­bi­tra­tion hear­ing, which will de­ter­mine if the ARU can shut down the Force.

For­rest was this week likened to Don­ald Trump by Force cen­tre Cur­tis Rona and the min­ing mag­nate lived up to that billing in a feisty ra­dio in­ter­view.

Ex­plain­ing why he was back­ing the Force, For­rest slammed the ARU for lit­i­gat­ing with the Force, ac­cused the na­tional body of be­ing “eastern seaboard- cen­tric” and also fired shots at Mel­bourne and for­mer pri­vate owner Andrew Cox for the “un­der­hand” deal last week that saw own­er­ship trans­ferred to the “pen­ni­less” Vic­to­rian Rugby Union.

“Whichever way it ( the ar­bi­tra­tion) goes, ei­ther for the Western Force or against the Western Force, for me it doesn’t mat­ter,” For­rest said on 2GB on Tues­day. “Let’s just make a de­ci­sion on what’s best for the game. Lit­i­ga­tion is not lead­er­ship. Lit­i­ga­tion is a very weak form – I think al­most a cow­ardly form – of get­ting any agree­ment done.”

The le­gal fight was kicked off by Rugby WA in April af­ter the ARU said ei­ther the Force or the Rebels would be cut to re­duce Aus­tralia’s Su­per Rugby teams from five to four.

Rugby WA suc­cess­fully won an in­junc­tion based on an al­liance agree­ment with the ARU, who’d taken over the bat­tling club in 2016. A clause in the agree­ment said the Force would play in Su­per Rugby un­til the end of the broad­cast agree­ment in 2020.

The ARU ar­gued a new broad­cast agree­ment had been struck for SAN­ZAAR’s re­turn to Su­per 15 next year, and that clause was at the cen­tre of the ar­bi­tra­tion hear­ing.

The ARU de­clined to re­spond to For­rest’s com­ments. LAST year he felt like he didn’t b be­long, now Kur­tis Marschall is the sev­enth best pole vaulter on the planet.

The 20- year- old South Aus­tralian showed why he’s re­garded as a ris­ing star of Aus­tralian athletics af­ter hold­ing his own against the best vaulters in the world.

Marschall was a late call- up to the Rio Olympic team but failed to get out of the qual­i­fy­ing round. A year on and he showed com­po­sure be­yond his years, clear­ing 5.65m at his first at­tempt and then go­ing ag­o­nis­ingly close in three at­tempts at 5.75m.

“Com­ing sev­enth in the world is pretty up there,” he said. “I’m not just one of the par­tic­i­pants any­more, I’m not just a spec­ta­tor out there.

“I know I can mix it with the big dogs and if I’d jumped 75 that would have placed me top six in the world and that would have been ab­so­lutely in­sane but I’ll set­tle with sev­enth.”

Amer­i­can Sam Ken­dricks won gold af­ter clear­ing 5.95m at the third at­tempt. Poland’s Piotr Lisek ( 5.89) took sil­ver on a count­back from world record holder Re­naud Lav­il­le­nie.

Marschall has his eyes set on Com­mon­wealth Games gold on the Gold Coast next year given there was only one other Com­mon­wealth ath­lete in the fi­nal, Canada’s 2015 world cham­pion Shawn Bar­ber, who fin­ished eighth.

The news wasn’t so great for Aus­tralia’s 200m sprint­ers with Ella Nel­son and Ri­ley Day fail­ing to progress out of heats.

Day, Aus­tralia’s youngest team mem­ber, also strug­gled in her de­but on the world’s big­gest stage. The 17year- old Queens­land school­girl fin­ished last her 200m heat in 23.77sec.

Pic­ture: AP Andrew For­rest.

POLE PO­SI­TION: Kur­tis Marschall goes over the bar in the pole vault fi­nal in London. He fin­ished sev­enth.

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