Western Force to be cut from Super Rugby competition from 2018

Western Force players celebrate a try during the round 17 Super Rugby match against the NSW Waratahs at nib Stadium in Perth

Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver has blown the whistle on his own job, just hours after the ARU controversially announced it was axing the Western Force from the Super Rugby competition.

The Force are on death's door after being told on Friday they are being culled by the ARU.

The ARU said it chose to discontinue the Force's Super Rugby licence after weeks of consultation with rugby bodies and stakeholders, including government and commercial partners.

"If you continue to make a decision to invest in Super Rugby, you are making a conscious decision not to invest somewhere else".

"RugbyWA remains committed to pursuing every possible means to ensure the Western Force remains a Super Rugby team in Perth", it said.

"RugbyWA is considering all options including bringing urgent proceedings in the Supreme Court of (New South Wales), and legal action relating to the circumstances which led it to enter into the alliance agreement with the ARU", it read.

Billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest has also backed a campaign to save the Force from a cull, telling the ARU his support for rugby is contingent upon the franchise remaining in a national competition.

I never wanted to throw any team under the "bus" but to create a situation that considers retaining a team that has lost almost $30million (including nearly $17.5million additional cost to the ARU) since 2011 at the expense of a team that has incurred additional cost to the ARU of only $5.5million since 2005 is outrageous!

"The Australian Rugby Union is the custodian of the game of rugby in Australia, not simply the custodian of the business of rugby". "I stand behind all of these awesome people who believe in a fair go and the right for Australians to support rugby union as a national sport, not just one reduced to the eastern seaboard".

The ARU announced on Friday that the Force rather than the Melbourne Rebels would be cut from the downsized 2018 competition, with chief executive Bill Pulver resigning from his position.

Stooke was the only board member who voted against axing a Super Rugby team back in April, 124 days ago, and recused himself from much of the process.

The Western Australia Government wades into the argument as it criticises the ARU.

ARU chairman Cameron Clyne says they are not abandoning rugby in Western Australia. "We accept that there will be anger and resentment over this decision and we sympathize with those fans".

The ARU are already struggling financially, and they could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if they are defeated in court.

The Australian Rugby Players' Association quickly condemned the ARU decision which likely leaves several of Australia's professional rugby players without employment.

The players' representative body was pushing for five Australian teams to continue in the competition.

"The ARU insists the process used, to choose a team to axe, was critical to the future of Australian rugby", Forrest said.

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