Force ready to return
Western Force owner Andrew Forrest has today accepted a Rugby Australia offer for the Force to join a proposed one-off, domestic-based competition this year.
Dr Forrest made the decision in line with his desire to see rugby return to a position of sporting prominence across the country, but has stressed the arrangement is for 2020 only.
“I want what is best for rugby in Perth and in Australia and to ensure the game flourishes,” he said.
“My views on the mismanagement of the game under the previous Rugby Australia administration are well known and remain steadfast. Change is imperative at the top for rugby to thrive long term.”
Dr Forrest had a long and constructive conversation with incoming RA Chairman Hamish McLennan, who acknowledged the anguish felt by Force fans and players in recent years.
“I am prepared to help out RA and new Chair Hamish McLennan in a time of crisis, for the good of the sport.
“Rugby Australia cannot afford to miss this opportunity to restructure and reinvent every aspect of the game – its governance, cost structure, rules, competition construct, partnerships with broadcasters, commitment to grass roots and, most importantly, engagement with the fans.
“I developed and launched Global Rapid Rugby across the Asia Pacific region to prove how rugby can be played – fun for the players, fast moving, high scoring and always entertaining.
“The Australian sporting public deserves to see more of that style of rugby. A game which keeps up with the times and is not mired in a myriad of laws. A game which returns rugby to its former national prominence and international appeal. A game that will be embraced by the Asia Pacific region as relevant, culture strengthening and entertaining.
“Until I see evidence that reinvention is at the core of any strategic plan RA comes up with, it will be difficult to commit to a long-term investment.”
Dr Forrest also acknowledged a group of ex-Wallabies captains led by Simon Poidevin and Nick Farr-Jones.
“I am grateful for their guidance and determination to return rugby to its former glory,” Dr Forrest said.
Rugby Australia hopes to confirm the 2020 competition and announce full details shortly, with kick-off expected in early July.
If the proposed one-off season gets the green light, the Force may have to relocate to the eastern seaboard in line with Western Australia’s strict border closure. Discussions with the WA Government would then continue around possible home games in Perth later in the year.
Force members and fans will be provided with fixture and broadcast information immediately it becomes available.
As always, please keep up to date with the latest team and player news via westernforce.com.au and @WesternForce on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.