Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle is optimistic about the future of WA rugby, after meeting with key officials in the past week.
Castle was in Perth last week, meeting with Rugby WA officials and mining billionaire Andrew Forrest around his Indo Pacific Rugby Championship plans.
The Australian rugby boss said the meetings weren’t a s.ilver bullet but hoped they began to build bridges with the west
“It was great. we had some very challenging discussions, there's no doubt,” she said.
“There's some hurt and disappointment that they've lost their Super team and we understand why that is but it was a really good opportunity for me to hear it first hand from them and to understand the challenges that now faces them from a rugby community perspective and what we can do from Rugby Australia to ensure they still have some aspirational pathways.”
As for Forrest’s competition, Castle said they were still working with Forrest’s Minderoo group in the development of the IPRC.
“I met Andrew when I was over there,” she said.
“We had a very positive and constructive meeting.
“They’re continuing forward on the project and there's a big undertaking for them to do so we want to make that we were positive in those engagements but we need to think about what's important strategically for rugby right across Australia and the conversations are positive there.”
One element that has been nutted out is that of Test eligibility for Australian players in the IPRC, Castle said.
“We have a policy in place around player eligibility, fundamentally if you're playing in Australia for an Australian team you're eligible for the Wallabies,” she said.
“So the Western Force, any players playing for the Western Force will find them in that situation and then we have a 60-Test rule so if they choose to play in any IPRC competition for another team or club and they meet that criteria, then they would be eligible to play for the Wallabies as well.”