The Force celebrate a try during the Round 7 Super Rugby match between the Western Force and the Southern Kings at NIB Stadium in Perth
The Force celebrate a try during the Round 7 Super Rugby match between the Western Force and the Southern Kings at NIB Stadium in Perth RICHARD WAINWRIGHT

ARU confirms Aussie axing from Super Rugby

RUGBY UNION: A decision on whether the Force or Rebels will be cut from Super Rugby is imminent as Australian Rugby Union bosses faced the music on Monday.

ARU chairman Cameron Clyne and chief executive Bill Pulver addressed media for an hour during an intensive interrogation into the troubled state of the game at an elite level.

The ARU say a decision on whether the Perth-based Force or Melbourne-based Rebels will be made within 48-72 hours.

The Brumbies were initially in the firing line as well but are now safe after an ARU review.

SANZAAR announced on Sunday that the 18-team competition would be trimmed to 15 clubs next season, with one Australian and two South African sides to get the boot.

The ARU agreed to that model and it is now up to the national bodies to decide which clubs go.

"It is important for me to clarify firstly that the decision to remove a Super Rugby team from Australia was a decision made by the ARU, not by SANZAAR," Clyne said.

"At the request of the board, ARU management completed an exhaustive analysis on three of our teams - the Brumbies, Western Force and Melbourne Rebels.

"The purpose of the analysis was to assess each of those teams on their financial sustainability, high performance and commercial factors, examining a range of metrics, with a view to identifying which of those three teams to remove from the competition.

"After reviewing management's findings, the Board made the decision to eliminate the Brumbies from the process and identified that consultation is required with both the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels to further understand their financial position.


Rebels coach Tony McGahan watches his team
Rebels coach Tony McGahan watches his team JOE CASTRO

"We don't anticipate this final consultation period being a drawn-out process and expect to be able to deliver an outcome in the very near future...

"This outcome however was only made possible by a consensus vote by the four SANZAAR partners and has been a complex process involving the many stakeholders in the competition across the globe.

"This process was finally completed yesterday.

"We are also very grateful to our broadcast partner Fox Sports, which has been steadfast in its support of the ARU through this process and since the inception of Super Rugby in 1996.

"Super Rugby has placed an increasingly heavy burden on the ARU business in recent years and the acceleration of revenue declines in our Super Rugby businesses has placed the game under extreme financial pressure.

"The additional funding provided by the ARU to offset Super Rugby losses has severely limited our capacity to invest further in our grassroots and high performance areas such as player and coach development...

"We agree that the 18-team competition was unsustainable and that a return to a 15-team competition will provide a more engaging and overall improved product for fans."

News Corp Australia

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