The ARU will be hit with a Force
SYDNEY: The Australian Rugby Union announced its intention to axe the Perthbased Western Force side from Super Rugby yesterday but the protracted saga may not be over yet with Rugby Western Australia pondering a legal challenge to the decision.
The ARU said in April that they would cut either the Force or the Melbourne Rebels from Super Rugby next season as the competition contracted from 18 to 15 teams because of falling revenues and fan interest.
“Our decision to exit the Western Force has been guided primarily by financial outcomes,” ARU chairman Cameron Clyne said in a statement.
“This is a sad day for rugby, especially for Western Force fans. We accept that there will be anger and resentment over this decision and we sympathise with those fans. We sincerely hope that they are not lost to the game forever.”
RugbyWA responded with a statement saying it would pursue “every possible means”, including legal action, to ensure the Force remained in the competition.
Billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest warned the ARU earlier this week that he would be first in line to fight the embattled governing body if it cut Force.
With Forrest throwing his weight behind the team, the battle over the future of the Force could still be dragged out in a long legal battle the cashstrapped ARU can ill afford.
The Force went to arbitration with the ARU last week arguing the alliance agreement they signed when they were bailed out by the ARU last year guaranteed them Super Rugby until the end of the current broadcasting deal in 2020.
The ARU contended that the contraction of the competition for next year effectively meant there was a new broadcast agreement in place for 2018.
Governing body Sanzaar earlier this year agreed to remove three teams from the competition.
The ARU quickly ruled out cutting the Waratahs, Brumbies and Reds, leaving a choice between the Force and Rebels.
Rebels owner Andrew Cox confirmed last week that he had transferred ownership to state governing body Victorian Rugby Union (VRU), declaring the move had “secured” the team’s future.
The Force were an expansion team aimed at spreading the geographic imprint of rugby to Australia’s west coast when they joined the competition in 2006. LENNON GREGGAIN dotted down twice and Kai Evans scored 20 points as Wales delivered the goods to make up for last year’s loss to the Baby Boks.
The 70-minute encounter at the Markötter fields at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch yesterday on day one of the SA Under-19 International Series went to the wire but Wales had a 16-point lead heading into the final few minutes and fully deserved what will be a morale-boosting win ahead of their next match against England at Paarl Gymnasium on Tuesday.
The Boks will be licking their wounds after a disjointed performance and will want to set the record straight when they next play a French outfit that lost to England in the earlier game.
The South Africans lacked