ON THE CHOP­PING BLOCK

NZ Rugby World - - The Breakdown -

THE CAN­DI­DATES TO be dropped from Su­per Rugby are the Western Force and Mel­bourne Rebels.

The ARU says it needs to save about $6 mil­lion a year to sus­tain it­self fi­nan­cially and now has no choice but to cut one those two teams.

It hasn’t yet di­vulged what cri­te­ria it will use to de­ter­mine the out­come and also ac­knowl­edges that both sides are likely to take le­gal ac­tion if they are ditched from Su­per Rugby.

The Force were in­tro­duced to Su­per Rugby in 2006 and while they ini­tially came into the com­pe­ti­tion with ma­jor cor­po­rate back­ing and a hand­ful of big-name play­ers, they have never once made the playo s and are a vic­tim of the col­lapse of the com­mod­ity boom in Western Aus­tralia.

They don’t have the same fi­nan­cial sup­port as they did 11 years ago and their home crowd has dropped sig­nif­i­cantly.

The Rebels were in­tro­duced in 2011 and, again, have been sup­ported with pri­vate in­vest­ment and the abil­ity to at­tract big name play­ers with it.

But af­ter a hand­ful of Wal­la­bies were will­ing to go there in the early years, that pipe­line has dried up and the Rebels have strug­gled for im­pact.

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