ARU to 'discontinue' Western Force as Super Rugby franchise

ARU to 'discontinue' Western Force as Super Rugby franchise

ARU to 'discontinue' Western Force as Super Rugby franchise

In a dramatic day for Australian rugby, the Western Force have been axed from the Super Rugby competition and ARU chief Bill Pulver has announced he will quit.

The ARU said the decision to "discontinue the Force's licence" was based primarily on financial outcomes.

Two South African sides, the Cheetahs and the Southern Kings, have already been cut from future Super Rugby competitions under a South African rugby commitment to drop their representation to four teams.

Less than an hour after the ARU made public its intention to cut the Force, the franchise fired back declaring they would explore whatever means possible to remain Super Rugby. "We accept that there will be anger and resentment over this decision and we sympathize with those fans".

However, this is not necessarily the end of the long-running saga, with Western Force's parent body Rugby WA likely to take the case to the Supreme Court if it wins the right to appeal.

At a press conference in Sydney tonight, Pulver confirmed he will leave his role as soon as a replacement can be found.

RugbyWA will also consider mounting legal action relating to the circumstances which led it to enter into the "Alliance" agreement past year with the ARU.

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Former Force star Heath Tessman was quick to condemn the decision, alongside foundation player Nathan Sharpe, who also jumped on Twitter to voice his opinion.

Every Australian team lost more than they won in 2017 and for the second-straight year no local side made the semi-finals. The Force, added in 2006, were seen as vital by giving rugby a presence on Australia's west coast whereas it's traditional base has always been in the east coast states of New South Wales and Queensland.

"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". There will be a clear pathway for young Western Australian Rugby players to reach the highest level and represent the Wallabies.

"All the contracted players will have their contracts honoured and hopefully a lot of them will actually find a new Super Rugby team".

ARU chairman Cameron Clyne admitted it was a "sad day", but insisted Australian rugby could not sustain five teams financially.

"Sports is a hard business and we have had a hard year".

"'We're just saying we need to reallocate some of the pie to those things".

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