Rugby AU wipe Force legal fees, return IP

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

It's been a long time coming but finally, there's some good news for Force fans.

Rugby Australia has wiped all of RugbyWA's outstanding legal fees and returned the intellectual property of the team, too.

That means the Force will be able to legally operate under their given name - rather than being forced to pivot and re-name the franchise - and eradicate the current state of voluntary administration.

In a letter to the Western Australian community the Rugby WA board also raised the prospect of the Force taking the Spirit's place in the NRC next year - donning the familiar blue strip.

"Should the Sea of Blue wish it so our NRC team can take to the field in 2018 as the Western Force in full and familiar Blue," the letter reads.The Force could replace the Spirit in the NRC next year. Photo: Walmsley"This is a significant sign after a long battle that Rugby Australia acknowledges the importance of our code and our solidarity in the west.

"More support is promised and we will certainly be seeking it moving forward."

The letter also revealed the makeup of a new look board, with John Edwards taking up the gig as chairman - replacing long serving chairman Tony Howarth - and Bob Hunter taking the reins as CEO, in place of Mark Sinderberry.

Andrew Forrest has also committed $2 million to help bolster grassroots and women's rugby, as well as a pathway for Western Australia players to progress to the professional ranks.

The Future Force academy will be resurrected, with the doors now open to women for the very first time as well.The RugbyWA board thanked Forrest for his continued support. Photo: Walmsley"This is a very exciting day for Western Australian fans, players and coaches," Edwards said.

"With Andrew’s help, we have convinced Rugby Australia and other creditors to wipe the balance sheet clean, giving us a much-needed fresh start.

Forrest said he remained as committed as ever to ensuring rugby in Western Australia not just survived but thrived.

"It has been a very difficult year for our rugby family in Western Australia but through adversity, we have emerged stronger, and more determined than ever, to show the rest of the country what a successful, united grassroots rugby community looks like."

To read the full letter, click here.