WA Wallabies not weighed down by looming court decision

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies lock Adam Coleman has maintained his loyalty to the Force, but admitted players had back-ups in place should the WA franchise be axed from Super Rugby in 2018.

A Supreme court judgement on the Force’s appeal against their arbitration loss to the ARU will be handed down at approximately 10am AEST on Tuesday.

That decision could spell the end for the Force, though billionaire Andrew Forrest has flagged continuing the legal appeals should the decision go against them.

Any further appeal would go to the Court of Appeal and ultimately the High Court, though it’s unclear what progress the ARU could make in winding up the team should they move to continue the legal fight.

If the Force is victorious, the ARU has signalled that would spell the end of their legal involvement, though they may well have to answer to SANZAAR if they cannot cut a team for next season.

Adam Coleman has stepped up this season. Photo: Getty ImagesColeman said players had Plan Bs, but he maintained his loyalty to the Force, should there remain a chance of them surviving in Super Rugby in 2018.

“Everyone's got a Plan B put in place,” he said.

“The saga, I suppose, has been going on for three months or so. I think you'd be silly if you didn't have or try and put in place a Plan B of some sort. Others that are potentially in a harder case, everyone's trying to look for a plan B.

“I love Perth, I call Perth home now and when I come back on holidays, I stay in Perth and I'm always loyal to the Force and if they continue on, I'll definitely be playing my rugby in Perth.”

Wallabies winger and Force fullback Dane Haylett-Petty remained optimistic about the appeal, but would deal with the next step once that was done.

“At the moment we haven’t talked too many options because we’re hoping the appeal is won,” he said.

“If that doesn’t go our way tomorrow, we’ll probably have to sit down and talk through options, what the options are and hear all the information.”

Blocking out external noise is nothing new for the Wallabies’ Force contingent but that challenge will go to another level after Tuesday’s court decision.

Dane Haylett-Petty admits the wait for judgement will be a nervous one. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyHaylett-Petty said he was ‘nervous’ about the judgement but couldn’t be distracted by that.

“Definitely a little bit nervous but there’s not much we can do,” he said.

“All season we’ve had to put it aside and focus on footy and that’s what we’re definitely doing.

“We’ve got a big game this weekend and need a good prep.

“We’ll deal with the decision tomorrow morning.”

The pair said they were optimistic fans wouldn’t boycott Saturday’s Test match and welcomed an initiative to wear blue jerseys to the match.

“They can come out in a gold jersey or a blue jersey, just don't come out in a green jersey,” Coleman said.

“I'm sure the rugby community will turn out in numbers.

“There's a lot of South Africans, a lot of Wallabies supporters here, so I think it'll be a great occasion on Saturday and I think the boys are really keen to rip in.”

The Wallabies host the Springboks at nib Stadium, kicking off at 6pm AWST, 8pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten, Win and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.