Western Force threaten legal action after Super Rugby axing


"The ARU Board has today made the decision to discontinue the Western Force as the Super Rugby competition reverts to 15 teams for the 2018 season", ARU chairman Cameron Clyne said in a statement.

The ARU said it made a decision to discontinue the Force's Super Rugby licence after weeks of consultation with rugby bodies and stakeholders, including government and commercial partners.

The tournament will be reduced from 18 to 15 teams from next season, with South Africa's Cheetahs and Southern Kings already eliminated.

Perth-based Western Force and the Melbourne Rebels, traditionally the weakest of the Australian teams, had both been warned they could face the axe after the ARU promised to move from five teams to four.

"Some of them community-based, some of them high-performance based and frankly at the end of the day the best decision for Australian rugby was to remove the Western Force".

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

They will also consider launching legal action relating to the circumstances which led it to enter into the Alliance Agreement with the ARU past year.

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

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Pulver apologised to Western Australian fans, but added that it was "the right decision for Super Rugby".

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. We sincerely hope that they are not lost to the game forever.

Rugby Western Australia plans to pursue "every possible means" to ensure the Force stay in the competition.

It wasn't just Force players voicing their disappointment, with the players advocating for the maintenance of five teams throughout the whole process. The Rebels had previously been owned by businessman Andrew Cox.

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

"Our immediate concern is to support the individuals at the Western Force through these hard circumstances and we will deploy various ARU management staff to Western Australia to provide assistance to all players and staff".

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