Western Force to be cut from Super Rugby competition from 2018
12 August, 2017, 00:36 | Author: Christina Hansen
Western Force have been dropped from next season's Super Rugby competition, the Australian Rugby Union said on Friday, prompting an immediate threat of legal action and heralding a shake-up in the national body as its CEO resigned.
The ARU said it made a decision to discontinue the Force's Super Rugby licence following weeks of consultation with rugby bodies and stakeholders, including government and commercial partners.
Of the two, it's the Force who arguably had more traction with fans, yet they're the ones who've been sacrificed as the Super Rugby competition is pared back from 18 teams to 15.
The South African Rugby Union cut two teams and negotiated for them to compete in a European competition next season. "We accept that there will be anger and resentment over this decision and we sympathize with those fans".
"RugbyWA is considering all options, including bringing urgent proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales and legal action relating to the circumstances which led it to enter the Alliance Agreement with the ARU".
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"There will be a clear pathway for young Western Australian rugby players to reach the highest level and represent the Wallabies".
"RUPA will do whatever it takes to ensure that players' contractual rights are honoured and no player is unfairly disadvantaged by the ARU's decision".
Every Australian team lost more than they won in 2017 and for the second-straight year no local side made the semi-finals.
Asked if there was any restrictions on other teams recruiting Force players or if it was open slather, ARU boss Bill Pulver said: We'll start that exercise on Monday.
Perth-based Western Force and the Melbourne Rebels, traditionally the weakest of the Australian teams, had both been warned they could face the axe.
Former Force players and fans have been out in force on social media, slamming the ARU's decision to cut the Force.
"'We're just saying we need to reallocate some of the pie to those things".
As we have reinforced throughout this process, there are commercial realities which are linked to declining on-field performance across our Super Rugby teams which has put Australian Rugby in a position where it can no longer sustain five teams.
"Our immediate concern is to support the individuals at the Western Force through these hard circumstances and we will deploy various ARU management staff to Western Australia to provide assistance to all players and staff".
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