Forrest adamant IPRC will go ahead

International
AAP
by AAP

Billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest insists he will go ahead with his Indo Pacific Rugby Championship even if Rugby Australia don't approve it.

Forrest has been locked in negotiations with RA for months now, with the major sticking point being around whether players who feature in the IPRC will also be eligible for Wallabies selection.

Forrest has declared his six-team IPRC competition will go ahead one way or the other, with the start date still slated for 2019.

"We'll either get Rugby Australia's approval, or we won't. But either way we're going to roll, and we'll be playing internationally," Forrest said.

"This is a tournament that is waiting to happen, and will be fantastic for Australia.


"We've had something like 250 enquiries from elite players around the world.

"We've had endorsement from Rugby Asia. We know that World Rugby is completely on side.

"I think we get closer every day (with getting Rugby Australia's tick).

"I think if you have a legitimate love for the game and a legitimate interest in what's best for the players, you'll back the new tournament."

Forrest's deep pockets could become RA's way out of its current financial mess.

And the mining magnate showed he is more than just talk by launching a new junior rugby development program in WA on Wednesday.

The program - dubbed the RugbyRoos - will foster future rugby talent by providing fun clinics for kids aged between four and 12 to learn the core skills of the game.

As part of the new program, all future elite rugby players contracted to play in WA will devote 350 hours of their personal time each year to community programs like RugbyRoos.

Forrest wants to eventually expand the RugbyRoos all over Australia to help strengthen the game.


"Rugby starts at the grass roots, and finishes with elite. Not the other way around," Forrest said.

"Rugby has been struggling a bit in the eastern states at a community level. The RugbyRoos is a great way to build the community spirit through rugby in the eastern states.

"RugbyRoos is a long-term vision."

Forrest has already resurrected the Future Force Foundation, and he's committed funds to women's rugby as well.

New Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle says the door is open for the Western Force to return to Super Rugby in 2021 after the current broadcast deal expires.

But Forrest wants to see the Force back in action before then in his IPRC competition.

Force players Marcel Brache and Peter Grant have reportedly signed with RugbyWA to lead the side in the National Rugby Championship.