Western Force cut from Super Rugby as ARU chief Pulver resigns

aruThe Western Force have been axed from the Super Rugby competition after the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) resolved to discontinue the franchise’s licence from next year.

The Force had been arguing an alliance agreement signed last August with the ARU guaranteed the club’s survival until at least the end of the current broadcast deal in 2020.

But the Force has lost an arbitration case, leaving the ARU free to axe the franchise as part of a plan to reduce Super Rugby from 18 teams to 15.

Shortly after the announcement was made, ARU CEO Bill Pulver said he would stand aside once a replacement could be found.

“We are regretful that this issue has consumed so much of the public commentary on the game in 2017,” ARU chairman Cameron Clyne said.

“It was clearly not our intention for this to play out over such a lengthy period however there have been factors outside the ARU’s control that have prevented us from completing the process.

But the saga appears set to continue, with the Force and Rugby WA preparing an appeal to take the case to the Supreme Court.

Force CEO Mark Sinderberry said the club would also seek a Supreme Court injunction to prevent it from being axing until the appeal was heard.

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