Billionaire Andrew Forrest to bankroll ‘Indo-Pacific’ rugby union competition

But Western Force players are being encouraged not to turn their back on Australian Rugby Union despite its decision to axe the club.

Wessels imagined it as a version of cricket’s Indian Premier League, a competition with well-paid hired stars and teams craving a shot at higher-level rugby.

Forrest confirmed he had not yet approached any of the Force’s players about committing to the competition.

Western Force have been dealt another, possibly fatal, blow in their bid to stay in Super Rugby.

But if players in Forrest’s new competition become ineligible for Wallabies selection, it’s nearly certain Haylett-Petty will join a rival Super franchise. It’s a pretty exciting time for rugby.

“We will be including in this an worldwide game – and I hope to announce details of that in the next several days – with the Western Force versus a team that will surprise us all”.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if some fans didn’t show up at all and others wore (Force) blue. or black for a day of mourning”, Hodgson said.

Forrest, a billionaire backer of the club’s parent body RugbyWA, said six teams would initially be involved, including the Force, with the league starting “as soon as possible”.

“I think fans will be angry”.

“I want to reward them for being such a big help in my career by giving them (a good performance), I know it shouldn’t be a windup for a Test, but this’ll definitely be emotional for me just because they’ve been a big help in my regard and I want to reward them, hopefully putting in a performance they can be proud of”.

“It’s great for him (Forrest) to come up with something like this but if there’s no flesh to the bones, I think we’d be better off not talking about it”.

To meet this challenge, tough decisions have had to be made to ensure that community and development programs are adequately funded to support the growth of the game including schoolboys, junior and women’s Rugby.

Matt Hodgson was visibly upset at the thought of not having a Super Rugby side in Western Australia in 2018.

The 18-team format of the past two seasons has been jettisoned and its governing body SANZAAR agreed earlier this year to cut three teams amid declining ratings and crowds.

“Australian rugby will also assist in educating coaches, first aid personnel and match officials as well as provide a competition management system which logs all concussion cases”.

The State will be $1.5 million a year worse off until at least 2020, when the Force’s major contracts were due to be renewed, on top of the costs associated with revamping nib Stadium.

Pacific islands nations like Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, plus cashed-up Hong Kong interests, shape as a potential market for new teams in a new competition.

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