Forrest to start rogue league if Force axed

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Western Force's billionaire backer Andrew Forrest has suggested he would begin a rogue league should RugbyWA lose its appeal against the Force's axing this week.

Nine days after the ARU announced it would be moving to axe the Force from the Super Rugby competition, fans convened to protest the decision and continue the loud advocacy for their team that they have carried through the process.

Gathered at RugbyWA HQ, supporters wore Force gear, held placquards and posted the results to social media, keen to try and catch the national body's attention.

The start of the rally was pushed back, according to attendees, as more people began to turn up to support their franchise's hopes of survival.

Geoff Stooke, who resigned as an ARU board member last week, was among roughly 4000 people in attendance, according to a Western Force representative, though Forrest told media it was closer to 10,000.


The Force will meet the ARU in court on Wednesday, as they look to be granted an appeal over the recent arbritration decision that went in the ARU's favour.

Whether or not that is successful will likely prove the ultimate decider in the Force's fate, with a rejection all but ending their hopes of overturning the arbitration decision, though there are options for the club and billionaire backer Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest to sue the ARU separately.

That, though, would most probably happen without an injunction, though, meaning the ARU could begin to move on relocating players and the process of winding up the club.

Forrest said no matter the decision, the Force would survive in some way.

"This is absolutely not the end of the Western Force, it is not the end of rugby in Western Australia," he said.

"If anything, the hottest fires forge the strongest metals. This will make rugby in Western Australia stronger and stronger again.

"Win or lose the appeal we will get stronger. Win or lose the appeal, we will be more invigorated as a rugby family here in Western Australia.

We love West Australian sport and we're not going to see it destroyed by a few people who clearly have big problems with governance and big problems with managing money in the eastern states.

Forrest pointed to the turnout as proof of the passion of the local community.

"I think the fact you saw a shade under 10,000 people here totally committed, taking their Sunday off from their families and from everything else they'd booked up to come and turn out here and the fact that there was so much passion in this crowd, there was so much heart in this crowd," he said.

"This is what forged the pipeline through the deserts over 100 years ago, this is what has created the great industries, this is what has made Western Australia punch way above its weight for the last 140 years and we have only just begun to fight."