Sport

RugbyWA to fight Western Force axing, ponder legal challenge

RugbyWA to fight Western Force axing, ponder legal challenge”

But in response, RugbyWA says it "remains committed to pursuing every possible means to ensure the Western Force remains a Super Rugby team in Perth".

But the Force has lost an arbitration case, leaving the ARU free to end the franchise's licence.

"RUPA has and will continue to provide any support that is necessary for all players affected by the ARU's decision".

Clyne's statement continued: "Our decision to exit the Western Force has been guided primarily by financial outcomes".

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 Western Force. "I stand behind all of these unbelievable people who believe in a fair go and the right for Australians to support rugby union as a national sport, not just one reduced to the eastern seaboard".

Last week, Rebels owner Andrew Cox sold his share of that franchise to the Victorian Rugby Union (VRU) for $1, stopping the ARU from buying the club and shutting it down.

Either Force or Melbourne Rebels have been set to make way following the decision by South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina Rugby (SANZAAR) to reduce Super Rugby from 18 teams to 15 in a bid to cut costs and safeguard the viability of the competition.

The Rugby Union Players' Association has described the axing of the Western Force as the "darkest day in the history of Australian Rugby".

The ARU won their arbitration hearing against RugbyWA on Friday, and immediately announced they will be axing the Force.

The ARU said on April 10 that it would confirm which of them would be cut within "48 to 72 hours", but the decision has instead taken 123 days.

Two South African sides - the Cheetahs and the Southern Kings - have signed deals to compete in the European Pro 12 competition, meaning the South African Rugby Union has fulfilled its commitment to drop to four teams. We accept that there will be anger and resentment over this decision and we sympathise with those fans.

The ARU has promised not to forget abandon the game in Western Australia, saying the state still held an "important" place in Australian rugby.

"We are regretful that this issue has consumed so much of the public commentary on the game in 2017", ARU chairman Cameron Clyne said.



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