Forrest takes swing at ARU
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.
POLE POSITION: Kurtis Marschall goes over the bar in the pole vault final in London. He finished seventh.