What is happening to the Western Force?

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Richardfje
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What is happening to the Western Force?

Post by Richardfje » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:37 am

The whole situation with the Western Force is confusing me, I understand they won't play in Super Rugby next year but will they remain a club at all? Will their players become free agents? Will they change competitions? If so to which one?

So just wondering if someone could help shed some light on the situation

drc_007
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Re: What is happening to the Western Force?

Post by drc_007 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:02 pm

Some details here

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/ ... ued-by-aru

Summary, watch this space

Richardfje
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Re: What is happening to the Western Force?

Post by Richardfje » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:18 pm

But are the players now up for grabs

sam16111986
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Re: What is happening to the Western Force?

Post by sam16111986 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:32 pm

Richardfje wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:37 am
The whole situation with the Western Force is confusing me, I understand they won't play in Super Rugby next year but will they remain a club at all? Will their players become free agents? Will they change competitions? If so to which one?

So just wondering if someone could help shed some light on the situation
What appears to be happening is that the ARU are dead set on shooting themselves in the foot. They are destroying the only rugby connection to the West of Australia and their most improved team in favour of their worst team that could quite easily be merged with another and cover both territories. Add to that they are also going toe to toe with one of the richest men in Australia in what looks to be am expensive legal case they can't afford.

All the while the players are in limbo and are liable to be picked off meaning that the ARU will be failing to retain the players and coaches they really need to.

trendylfj
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Re: What is happening to the Western Force?

Post by trendylfj » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:59 am

What an enlightening statement by Geoffrey Stooke the day after Pulver resigned - the game in Australia is in a real mess:-
http://www.planetrugby.com/news/stooke- ... aru-board/

Bob Dwyer is not too impressed either:-
http://www.watoday.com.au/rugby-union/u ... 812-gxuvft
Hehehehehehehehe

tjs10
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Re: What is happening to the Western Force?

Post by tjs10 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:41 am

Basically the ARU agreed before Easter to cut one Super Rugby side and stated that it would announce the side to be cut "within 48-72 hours" "following a comprehensive review".

They always wanted/intended to cut WF as it on the wrong side of the country for the ARU is an inconvenience to them. Unfortunately for the ARU, Melbourne Rebels were shockingly bad this season, while the Force had one of their best years ever, so the decision wasn't as clear cut as the ARU hoped it would be.

For various reasons (few of which would stand up to independent scrutiny) the ARU still decided to take the "easy" option and remove the franchise licence from Western Force rather than grow a pair and take a decision that would retain a national footprint for the sport, would allow further development in the region that produces the most home-grown talent and which has the greatest potential for grassroots growth, due in part to the lack of Rugby League presence in WA.


That aside, the future for Western Force now looks grim. Their main avenue now is legal action in the Supreme Court of NSW but unfortunately I don't think that will do much other than potentially increase the level of financial compensation offered to the club & staff.

Beyond that, I believe that rugby union participation in WA will slowly decline. Perth Spirit won the NRC last year (the development competition below Super Rugby level) but that competition is unlikely to exist beyond 2017 as it was a Bill Pulver initiative and doesn't have the history/backing/support of competitions like the Currie Cup & Mitre10 comps. Below that in WA is the grassroots game but, with no clear pathway to Super Rugby/Wallabies for youngsters, any decent players will look east for success and RU will go the way of RL in WA.

Western Force don't really have many other options outside of Super Rugby.
- Europe is out now that the two SA sides have joined the Celts (plus timezones & travel aren't quite as desirable as they are for SA sides)
- Joining the Currie Cup would be a step down for the Force, would increase travel costs for under-funded SA clubs and would be a difficult draw for emerging Australian players due to clashes with the international test calendar meaning they would have to choose either Wallabies or Western Force, but not both. It would probably be desirable for the SA-expat community in WA though.
- Japan is another avenue that has been mooted recently and is a possibility. The money would be good and the addition of an Australian side could be appealing for the Japanese clubs. However another stumbling block is that the current season is about to begin so Force wouldn't be able to join until 2018 at the earliest.


As for players and officials, I understand that part of the agreement with the ARU was that all existing contracts would be honoured, so technically all contracted players will still be paid for the remainder of their agreements, meaning they aren't free-agents as such. However if they could find lucrative agreements elsewhere, I expect the ARU would have no issue in releasing them immediately to sign with another club. All this would of course only take effect once Western Force either accept the ARU's decision or all legal avenues are exhausted.

tjs10
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Re: What is happening to the Western Force?

Post by tjs10 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:13 am

This article should also add a bit of background & context to the ARU's move:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/o ... 32fb8d9967

drc_007
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Re: What is happening to the Western Force?

Post by drc_007 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:43 am

The Western Australian government has threatened to bankrupt the Australian Rugby Union if the Western Force are not reinstated. Premier Mark McGowan says the state government is getting legal advice and the options include suing for restitution of more than $100m, which would bankrupt the ARU, or suing for reinstatement.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/ ... gbys-force

tjs10
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Re: What is happening to the Western Force?

Post by tjs10 » Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:04 am

The Force have today (Wenesday) been granted their right to appeal the decision and the judge has opted to move straight the hearing the appeal the same day.

Also, the ARU rejected Twiggy's offer to unconditionally bankroll WF (effectively to the tune of $50M), proving that, despite what the ARU said publicly, money was NOT the deciding factor in their initial decision.

They have however seemingly agreed to support the creation of a new Indo-Pacific competition for the Force to play in, though quite how good/appealing/worthwhile that would be is open to debate.

There are also rumours that Western Force are discussing a tie up with Sunwolves for the next couple of years in order to find a way of remaining in or around Super Rugby.


The WA State govt's threat to bankrupt the ARU is largely sabre-rattling, but it will certainly give the ARU something to think about at a time when they are already losing a lot of support around the game & are already in a financially perilous position.

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