Top 15 of 2017: Draw ends rollercoaster Perth Test week

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

It's been a big year in rugby on many different fronts, so RUGBY.com.au is taking a look back at the 15 biggest storylines of the year, based on the stories you read and reacted to.

#9: Perth draw ends a tumultuous Test week

It was one of the most emotional weeks in rugby in recent history but, ironically, the Wallabies' 2017 Perth week finished with the numbness of a draw against the Springboks.

Australia held a 20-10 lead midway through the second half, before the Springboks mounted a comeback, drawing level with 14 minutes left.

The Wallabies never found another score after that, and the first of what would be two draws between the sides in 2017 was decided.

It was the backdrop on which the match was played that made the result even more bizarre, just days after the announcement that the Western Force would be axed from Super Rugby.

The Tuesday of the Test week, Rugby WA lost their arbitration against Rugby Australia's decision to cut the franchise from the 2018 competition, a decision handed down that morning.


That news came with it the first mention of Andrew Forrest's new Indo Pacific Rugby Championship, a competition still yet to be ticked off but gaining momentum for a 2019 start, as the mining billionaire fronted the Force squad, staff and media almost immediately after the decision.

Though their Wallabies couldn't be there, the bulk of the Force's squad was in the room when their executives reacted to the decision publicly, many in tears, left to confront an unknown future.

Those Test players who did speak were determined to use the week to show their gratitude to the WA fans, and praised it after the match also.

Indeed, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said the side had a responsibility to pay back the Perth community as best they could.

In the end, though, all they could muster was a draw, a strange end to a dramatic week in rugby.