Billionaire Forrest to help save the Force

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    If the Australian Rugby Union want to kill the Western Force, they are going to have to defeat the riches of mining magnate Andrew Forrest first.

    The Force’s bid for survival received a massive boost on Saturday when Forrest pledged to do everything within his powers to help the Perth-based franchise avoid the chop.

    Forrest, the chairman of Fortescue Metals, is valued at $4.5 billion according to Forbes.

    And he has a history of bankrolling causes close to his heart.

    Earlier this year, Forrest revealed he would donate $400 million to charity.

    Now, the Australian philanthropist has added ‘saving the Force’ to his to-do list.

    The ARU will axe either the Rebels or Force ahead of next season.

    Rebels owner Andrew Cox has previously stated he won’t sell the licence if it means it will be immediately closed down.

    But with Cox losing millions, rumours are circulating he is still in negotiations with the ARU about selling the licence back.

    The Force have enjoyed widespread community support since news broke the franchise was on the chopping block.

    And with Forrest’s deep pockets now in their corner, the Force have plenty of ammunition in their bid to stave off extinction.

    The ARU and Force will head to arbitration in the week beginning July 31.

    Forrest addressed the Force player group immediately after Saturday night’s 40-11 win over the Waratahs, assuring them the franchise will survive.

    “Be assured that surviving is not the issue. You will survive, and you will win,” Forrest said.

    Force coach Dave Wessels said it was a momentous occasion for the club.

    “To have somebody of his stature come into the circle and basically tell the team he’s going to throw his weight behind us and wants to see us remain in WA, it was a pretty special moment,” Wessels said.

    “He said he’s in behind us, and whatever we need, he’s going to make sure we get it.”

    Retiring veteran Matt Hodgson enjoyed the perfect send-off on Saturday night, scoring a try and a last-minute penalty in his side’s five-tries-to-one demolition of the Waratahs.

    “If I could write a script, I would pretty much write it that way,” Hodgson said.

    © AAP 2017

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