Andrew Forrest reveals details of new rugby competition, ARU responds

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    The first concrete details of Andrew Forrest’s much-hyped Indo Pacific Rugby Championship have emerged, with the billionaire going public with his offer of the new competition to the ARU.

    Forrest first mooted the creation of the competition following the ARU’s decision to axe the Western Force, but prior to today’s announcement, details surrounding the tournament have been scant.

    » SPIRO: Why Twiggy’s proposal is worth supporting

    The offer, outlined by a statement released by Forrest and his Minderoo Group this morning, includes a six-team competition to run after the Super Rugby season, as well as major sponsorship of the NRC starting immediately.

    Under the proposal, players who line up in the new competition would be contracted to the IPRC, taking away a significant financial burden from the ARU and other governing bodies involved in the tournament. Australian players in the IPRC would be eligible to play for the Wallabies, and the offer also mentions incorporating “exciting innovations related to men’s and women’s sevens rugby.”

    The teams involved in the competition are yet to be revealed, however a wide range of countries were listed as possible markets for the IPRC, including Australia, Singapore, Samoa, Fiji, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia.

    “We have made significant progress this week,” Forrest said.

    “We are now consulting with sovereign governments, international broadcasters, media organisations and other global businesses, with great interest in the Indo Pacific, as well as Australia’s leading coaches and players, both here and overseas.”

    The statement released by Minderoo claimed Forrest’s offer would help “reinstate Australia as the world rugby leader and enhance the country’s opportunity to win the Rugby World Cup in Japan 2019”, as well as providing pathways for all involved in the competitions – players, coaches, referees and administrators – to develop their skills.

    The ARU responded to Forrest’s offer, saying they were in “collaborative discussions” with the billionaire, but not revealing the progress of those talks.

    “We do not wish to comment on the specifics of any proposed new competitions while these discussions are at a preliminary stage,” ARU chairman Cameron Clyne said.

    “ARU remains committed to maintaining a strong rugby presence in Western Australia and will explore all options in this regard.”

    Despite that, preparations for the competition are supposedly well underway, with pre-season scheduling having already commenced.

    “This is for all Australians who love our diversity of sport and the game of rugby,” said Forrest. 

    “For all who may have thought that Australian rugby was either dying or would not include them. This competition, and our offer of IPRC – ARU collaboration with Super Rugby and the Wallabies, is for them.”

    Daniel Jeffrey
    Daniel Jeffrey

    Daniel is Editor of The Roar. You can catch him on Twitter @_d_jeffrey.

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    The Crowd Says (75)

    • Roar Rookie

      September 13th 2017 @ 12:06pm
      piru said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

      In before the negative nellies

      This sounds promising to me

      • Roar Guru

        September 13th 2017 @ 12:12pm
        Train Without A Station said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

        Doesn’t sound like anything to me.

        There’s nothing we didn’t already know except a start date of August 2018 and potential Wallaby eligibility.

        Asia, 6 teams, etc. We already knew all of that.

        • Roar Guru

          September 13th 2017 @ 12:29pm
          Will Sinclair said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

          Sponsorship of the NRC is new… That’s big news for the ARU.

          • Roar Guru

            September 13th 2017 @ 12:31pm
            Train Without A Station said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

            That’s nothing about the competition though. Great news. I thought it would make more sense for Forrest to support the Spirit/Force though.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 13th 2017 @ 12:30pm
          piru said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

          We didn’t know anything, we had only assumption, rumour and innuendo, now we know.

          Anyway, my glass is half full.

          Front cover of the West mentioned that Clyne and the WA Sports Minister ended up sat next to each other at the test and had a ‘deep discussion’.

          Apparently Murray was overheard to say “It may be raining but I didn’t come down in the last shower”


          • Roar Guru

            September 13th 2017 @ 12:32pm
            Train Without A Station said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

            Didn’t Forrest make public statements about all this stuff (6 teams, where they were going to be drawn from, etc)?

            • Roar Rookie

              September 13th 2017 @ 1:07pm
              piru said | September 13th 2017 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

              It’s possible but I wasn’t aware of any number of teams or locations etc

      • September 13th 2017 @ 12:31pm
        not so super said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

        please explain why?

        • Roar Rookie

          September 13th 2017 @ 12:32pm
          piru said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

          no mate

          • September 13th 2017 @ 1:05pm
            Moz said | September 13th 2017 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

            hahaha, boom! Well played Piru!

      • September 13th 2017 @ 4:01pm
        Jimmy said | September 13th 2017 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

        This competition is really holding on to the hope of sanzaar not renewing their contract. And if they do? Which is very possible between nz and sa especially, then what? Nzr may help the aru get back on track? Again..

    • Roar Rookie

      September 13th 2017 @ 12:07pm
      Die hard said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

      Any good news is welcome. It is just that I can’t see this benefiting any of the Force player group much. It would probably never develop past its origins and be limited to NRC level quality.

      If I was a Wallabies contender I would be looking east.

      • September 13th 2017 @ 12:56pm
        GoTwiggy said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

        Why? The ARU have made it unbundantly clear that the Wallabies are an East Coast team. If I was a WA based Wallabies contender I would looking at the international options, for both the next season and also for the 2019 World Cup.

    • Roar Rookie

      September 13th 2017 @ 12:15pm
      Paul D said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

      Sounds good. I guess some may label me as one of the “negative nellies”, but that was only so far as when the talk was all about a Rebel Competition to take down the ARU. Done in conjunction is the only way it would ever fly and it’s good to hear both sides will be working towards making it happen, inclusively.

      • Roar Guru

        September 13th 2017 @ 12:26pm
        Train Without A Station said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

        My biggest concern based on how I hear it, is that it may take some players out of the NRC and therefore compete with it somewhat.

    • Roar Pro

      September 13th 2017 @ 12:18pm
      Crazy Horse said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

      A lot of progress has been made in the short time since the EARU’s launched it’s attempt to destroy Rugby in WA. There have been expressions of interest from twenty countries received to date. IRPC people are overseas as we speak talking to them about the details.

      Most of the Western Force squad was at the press conference including some big names being thrown around by the East coast teams. Of corse if the two competitions don’t clash there is no reason Force players couldn’t be lent to other teams for their season and return for the IRPC.

      It’s up to the EARU whether they want to participate but the IRPC is going ahead with or without them. Of course it was DeClyne and Co who should have come up with an alternative for the Force as the SARU did for the two teams it cut. But they did nothing so WA is forced to do it’s own thing. So they are hardly in a position to complain about anything.

      Cue the usual naysayers with nothing positive to say

      • September 13th 2017 @ 12:32pm
        not so super said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

        you mean realists? good to see the starry eyed true believers with no idea got in eary

    • September 13th 2017 @ 12:19pm
      Treetops said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

      Isn’t this gong to cannibalise the NRC now? Not what we need. cause the NRC is a better pathway for quality players, and a better spectacle for Aussie casual fans.

      I’m so disappointed he didn’t take control of the NRC instead. Reading between the lines, it still sounds like a power struggle

      • Roar Rookie

        September 13th 2017 @ 12:27pm
        piru said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

        It says it includes major sponsorship of the NRC – I think there’s more to come

      • Roar Pro

        September 13th 2017 @ 12:28pm
        Crazy Horse said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

        Quite possibly but given that the EARU are dismantling the infrastructure that supports the Perth Spirit, including sacking 15 support staff directly working with the Perth Spirit with effect the end of the current NRC season, it’s not a first order concern for WA. We will do whatever it takes to ensure Wa Rugby survives and thrives. If the Easters want to be a part of it great. If not they know what they can do.

        • Roar Guru

          September 13th 2017 @ 12:33pm
          Train Without A Station said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

          No. Sacking the people that work for the Force who they were paying for.

          • Roar Pro

            September 13th 2017 @ 1:00pm
            Crazy Horse said | September 13th 2017 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

            So who is supposed to support the Spirit next season? Will the EARU be providing funding for contract support staff doing the myriad of roles involved with a travelling team. Not just coaches but physios, logistics. even the SLJO. Or is the Community Rugby arm of Rugby WA just supposed to some how fund that?

            The answer appears to be that nobody at the Sydneycentric EARU seems to have given any serious thought to this or any ramifications of their selfish decision to destroy the Western Force Super Rugby Team.

            • Roar Guru

              September 13th 2017 @ 1:01pm
              Train Without A Station said | September 13th 2017 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

              Who supports the Rays, NSW Country and the Rams?

              • Roar Pro

                September 13th 2017 @ 1:10pm
                Crazy Horse said | September 13th 2017 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

                Given that the Perth Spirit are the reigning champions the objective should be to bring the other teams up to it’s standard not drag the Spirit down to theirs.

              • September 13th 2017 @ 1:11pm
                Akari said | September 13th 2017 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

                The Sunwolves, TWAS??? As I still can’t work out why that useless team is still in super rugby.

              • Roar Guru

                September 13th 2017 @ 1:16pm
                Train Without A Station said | September 13th 2017 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

                Doesn’t mean they should be run on a Super Rugby budget.

                Where does their sponsorship money go?

                Winning 1 year means the ARU should dump money into them?

              • September 13th 2017 @ 10:01pm
                Ex Force fan said | September 13th 2017 @ 10:01pm | ! Report

                Dumping the staff that is used for the Spirit just highlights that the ARU has no plan for the Spirit beyond 2017.

              • September 13th 2017 @ 10:11pm
                Train Without A Station said | September 13th 2017 @ 10:11pm | ! Report

                Why should the ARU have a plan?

                It’s not their job to run and fund the Spirit.

                What’s RugbyWA’s plan?

              • Roar Pro

                September 14th 2017 @ 8:24am
                robel said | September 14th 2017 @ 8:24am | ! Report

                TWAS, the ERU own the Spirit as it was part of the Force acquisition. Hence they are responsible for its running. To then go and sack the support staff for it demonstrates the ERUs total commitment to destroying rugby pathways in WA.

                In a nut shell:
                ERU own the Spirit via the same mechanism they own the Force. As a consequence they are responsible for the Spirit and it’s support.

      • September 13th 2017 @ 1:09pm
        ozrugbynut said | September 13th 2017 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

        Also dissappointed, though very glad he’s announced a major sponsor of the NRC.

        If we can somehow combine IPRC an NRC over time that would seem to be a big win – An Australian-led comp with an international flavour which serves Australian rugby’s interests and avoids becoming another SANZAR. Why not a relegation system as well, with the force able to enter Super after the current broadcast rights expire and the worst team in Aus conference falling out for a year (this might be mandated by ARU, just as SAFRU determined the Cheetahs/Kings would sit out for a year)?

        Assuming it cannot compete with Super rugby, is there any reason it couldn’t run up until Super pre-season? The more rugby played the better for Australia.

        I’d also love a bit of cash from Twiggy for a ‘best of’ club comp after the Brisbane, ACT, Vic, WA and Shute comps. Top clubs play off over three weeks or so. I doubt this would compete with Super. Maybe another checque or two to send said clubs overseas for an international club playoff.

        Too much to ask? 😉

    • Roar Pro

      September 13th 2017 @ 12:21pm
      Crazy Horse said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

      There was a very big hint that strategies are being developed to lure those going overseas to play for money to come back and those contemplating the move to stay.

      • September 13th 2017 @ 12:33pm
        not so super said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

        it is a great thing that you hold no position of authority or power in rugby

        • Roar Pro

          September 13th 2017 @ 1:02pm
          Crazy Horse said | September 13th 2017 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

          Don’t I? Like everything else you comment on you in relation to WA you have no idea who I am or where I fit into the scheme of things.

      • Roar Guru

        September 13th 2017 @ 12:33pm
        Train Without A Station said | September 13th 2017 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

        Unless it’s money it won’t be effective though…

        • Roar Pro

          September 13th 2017 @ 1:12pm
          Crazy Horse said | September 13th 2017 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

          A multi-billionaire talks about strategies to lure those playing overseas for money back home. You don’t need a business degree to work that there will be money involved.

          • Roar Guru

            September 13th 2017 @ 1:15pm
            Train Without A Station said | September 13th 2017 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

            You don’t become a multi-billionaire by dumping money into unprofitable ventures…

            • September 13th 2017 @ 9:46pm
              Scuba said | September 13th 2017 @ 9:46pm | ! Report

              You stop being one pretty quickly by doing that though – see Palmer, C. and Tinkler, N.

              • Roar Pro

                September 14th 2017 @ 1:23pm
                Crazy Horse said | September 14th 2017 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

                You’d better get a new line of attack because that one just doesn’t hold water. Twiggy has so much money with his mining and pastoral companies providing him with a continual top up that he gives hundreds of millions of dollars away regularly.

              • Roar Guru

                September 14th 2017 @ 2:09pm
                Train Without A Station said | September 14th 2017 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

                To charitable causes.

                Not professional sport.

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