IPRC talks progressing: Pulver

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

ARU CEO Bill Pulver says discussions over Andrew Forrest's proposed Indo-Pacific Rugby Championship have been taken to the next level.

An ARU working group met with WA billionaire Andrew Forrest last week about his proposed IIPRC, and Pulver said talks had gone to World Rugby, though the concept is still in its fledgling stage.

“There's deep engagement,” he said.

“We have a working party chaired by our deputy chair and a variety of ARU executive involved.

“There's discussion at a world rugby level, so there's a very deep discussion going but frankly a lot of work to be done.”

Cameron Clyne chaired the meeting. Photo: Getty ImagesThe outgoing ARU boss said he was  looking forward to the end of an ongoing Senate inquiry into the sport, after a tumultuous year for Australian rugby.

Pulver appeared in the opening hearing of the inquiry last month, while chairman Cameron Clyne testified on Monday night in Canberra.

The Senators have questioned both men over conflicts of interest surrounding Pulver’s former deputy Rob Clarke as well as the timeframe under which the idea of cutting a team was first formulated.

The final report will be handed down on November 13.

"Frankly we're looking forward to the process coming to an end. It's been an extremely difficult process for all involved,” Pulver said.

“Eliminating a team from a Super Rugby competition was never going to be fun and never going to be consequence free.

“So, we are looking forward to the process being behind us and getting on with Super Rugby next year.”

Meanwhile, a big international decision looms for Australia next month, as World Rugby’s members vote on the 2023 Rugby World Cup host.

Ireland is one of three bidders, competing with France and South Africa for the tournament and while Ireland President said he was ‘optimistic’ of Australian support, pulver was more ambivalent.

“The Rugby World Cup is the third biggest sporting event on the planet so it has a very significant impact on whichever country is successful,” he said.

“I can tell you I had the great pleasure of being in Ireland a couple of months ago watching an incredibly successful women's Rugby World Cup.

“They did an outstanding job and two cracking games between the Australian women's team and the Irish women's team. I've also had the pleasure of seeing their bid and it is a superb quality bid.

“The reality is they're up against two pretty tough competitors, in France and South Africa.

“It'll be interesting to note the outcome later in November.”