Force optimistic after Forrest pledge

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Force are yet to discuss specifics with mining magnate Andrew Forrest, after Saturday’s public declaration of support for the team.

Speaking to on Saturday night Forrest said he would provide the ‘full spectrum’ of support for the Force as their fight continues.

Western Force general manager Mark Sinderberry echoed that on Sunday, saying the billionaire’s influence would go beyond the bottom line.

“Financials are always going to help but I think it's much broader than that," he said.

"A lot of what Andrew's doing is almost symbolic about how the Western Australians feel about what the right opportunity is to continue to ensure that rugby prospers in this state,” he said.

“There is inevitably a financial contribution but it's far more important and far broader than that.

“We haven't got to that discussion because it is actually just ensuring that the Force survive to start with.”

RugbyWA goes into arbitration with the ARU on the week of July 31, and Sinderberry had already suggested they didn’t feel like that would necessarily be the end for them, regardless of the outcome.

Sinderberry said Forrest’s pledge would ease the minds of many in the club.

“We all understand there's been enormous pressure on the players and the coaching staff and it was to give those people in particular the comfort that he is as concerned as the rest of us to ensure that the Western Force remain here in WA,” he said.

The RugbyWA boss stopped short of suggesting Forrest’s support put them on superior footing to the Rebels when it came to the ultimate decision of which team to axe in 2018.

“It’s Impossible for me to say, they've got a particular situation down there which is different to ours,” he said.

“Time will tell how that plays out.

“Inevitably (Forrest’s support) puts us into a stronger position to push our case forward.”

Melbourne lost to the Jaguares on Friday night, leaving them with just one win for the season, though financial security through private ownership has always appeared their main strength in the Super Rugby debate.

Private owner Andrew Cox, who is currently believed to be overseas, has been adamant that he will not sell their license back to the ARU if the result spells the end of the Rebels.

The Rebels were set to go into mediation with the ARU earlier this month over damages  that saga has had on the Rebels' sponsorship, but that route was abandoned.