Australia Rugby Union Cut Super Rugby Side In Controversial Cull

Ross Houston
August 11, 2017

Foundation Force captain Nathan Sharpe wasted little time in voicing his anger at the call to axe the Perth franchise from Super Rugby in 2018, describing it as the biggest misstep the governing body could have made.

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

Pulver, who took over from John O'Neill in 2013, says he will stay on until the board finds his replacement.

"This has been a complex process to reduce Australia's Super Rugby representation to four teams as agreed by SANZAAR following its review of the competition", ARU chairman Cameron Clyne said via a press release.

The Western Force's parent body, Rugby WA, which has backing from mining billionaire Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest, said it was likely to take the team's case to the Supreme Court if it wins the right to appeal.

People within Australian rugby have always been in agreement that five local teams are too much for the Super Rugby Competition - the competition which features teams from NZ, Australia, South Africa, Argentina and Japan.

"RugbyWA remains committed to pursuing every possible means to ensure the Western Force remains a Super Rugby team in Perth", a Rugby WA media release read.

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

The Rugby Union Players' Association (RUPA) said Friday was the "darkest day in the history of Australian rugby" with the ARU "abandoning the game's national footprint".

"This is a sad day for rugby, especially for Western Force fans", Clyne said.

The Rebels are expected to put out a statement soon, reflecting their gratitude for the faith shown by the ARU in the future of the club and Victorian rugby, their acceptance that this outcome comes with a "great responsibility" and expressing sympathy for the Force, its officials, squad and fans.

"This is purely a first try against us. but it's not the end of the game".

Edinburgh lock Lewis Carmichael was loaned to the Force during the 2017 Super Rugby season, with the 22-year-old making eight appearances.

Their best finish was in 2014, when they only narrowly missed the finals.

The Melbourne Rebels had been the other team on the chopping block, but they are safe.

Next season's Super Rugby tournament will see the 15 participating teams divided into three geographical groups with the Australian Conference comprising the four remaining sides from the country along with the Japan-based Sunwolves.

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