RugbyWA set sights on 2021

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The RugbyWA board have penned an open letter to their loyal fans, ensuring them they will be ready should a chance to reenter Super Rugby come in 2021.

The letter details the plan for RugbyWA in both the near and extended future, with the current priorities firmly focused on shoring up parts of the state's current infrastructure which can be salvaged.

"The overarching plan of RugbyWA is a simple one and we hope that it’s a plan that you will all get behind," the letter reads.

"Put the fight with Rugby Australia behind us either way.RugbyWA is eager to get the Force back in Super Rugby. Photo: Getty Images"Shore up the business model to ensure - we retain our High-Performance Facility for Pathway and Professional development, we maintain and develop the Future Force Academy, we retain the support of the Government through what will be rocky financial times, we continue to strengthen the bonds we forged through the recent turmoil between Community, Club, Schools and the Professional elements, we increase community engagement in developing the future of our Game in WA and we build a sustainable financial model."

Further, the letter highlights the need to "super charge" the Spirit to ensure NRC participation in 2018 and beyond and to "be ready in 2021".

That is in reference to potential involvement in Super Rugby when the new television rights deal comes into play, in 2021.

"Discussions on the “NEXT” Super Rugby tournament will commence in less than 18 months," the letter reads.

"Competition of some form will commence in 2021 and there is broad speculation as to what form it will take.RugbyWA fans will have to wait until 2019 to see the Force back in action. Photo: Getty Images"For now, we need to right the ship and then build our financial strength so that when opportunity knocks to re-enter the “NEXT” phase we are first in line with a healthy balance sheet, a sustainable financial model and a robust pathway program."

The letter then details what that financial model may entail.

"Support from the community at large (Sea of Blue) in the form of modest annual memberships, the current individual members of the Future Force Foundation continuing to support the Academy and Pathways, loyal corporate sponsors continuing to support our game and our teams, grants and government assistance and a longer-term reinstatement of the successful but now abandoned “Own the Force”."

The board also provided an update on the "state of play" regarding legal costs owed to Rugby Australia.The Force want to ensure a pathway for local talent. Photo: Getty Images"The outcome still has a high element of uncertainty though we expect a resolution should be reached within the next two weeks," the letter said.

"Please be aware that this may not end positively for either party and may require us to take certain further steps to protect our position.

"Despite this potential hurdle we can confirm that in parallel with resolving our differences we are also engaged with Rugby Australia in detailed future planning particularly around ensuring rugby in this State is sustained and pathways maintained for all of our aspiring rugby participants."

That appears to be the main focus for the board - ensuring talented juniors have the high performance pathway to don Wallaby gold, with the Force currently in a holding pattern.

"RugbyWA’s high-performance pathway will be retained and will move forward with a first class program available to all WA participants, male and female.

"This includes the retention of all Academy and State team programs under the coaching leadership of Steve Anderson and Ben Brugman and with support from Rugby Australia.

"For now, the Perth Spirit NRC team will be the pinnacle of our pathway program in Western Australia from which players can be selected for Super Rugby, IPRC and Wallabies honours."