Western Force dumped from Super Rugby

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

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

Asked if there was any restrictions on other teams recruiting Force players or if it was open slather, ARU boss Bill Pulver said it would start "that exercise" on Monday. And Pulver made matters worse when he told a news conference he would step down as soon as a replacement could be found.

Perth-based Western Force and the Melbourne Rebels, traditionally the weakest of the Australian teams, had both been warned they could face the axe. It's a good time for a renewed leadership.

The Force argued the agreement they signed when they were bailed out by the ARU past year guaranteed them Super Rugby until the end of the current broadcasting deal in 2020.

South African sides Cheetahs and Kings will now play in the Pro14.

The team to go? Rugby was already locked in a battle for audience share with Australia's other football codes and lost further ground amid signs of administrative dysfunction.

"Nobody really wanted to lose a team from this competition but it is clearly the best outcome for Australian rugby", Pulver said.

There was no easy choice between the Rebels and Force.

Whether the Force wins a right of appeal remains to be seen.

"Today's is the darkest day in the history of Australian Rugby with the custodian of the game confirming their desire to end the tenure of the Western Force and abandoning the game's national footprint", said RUPA chief executive Ross Xenos in a statement.

I did not participate in this decision, as over the past two months I had been recused from all Board meetings, teleconferences & discussions on the Super Rugby "culling" process.

Rugby Western Australia plans to pursue "every possible means" to ensure the Force stay in the competition.

Billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest has vowed to fight the decision, with his lawyers now drawing up an injunction notice in a bid to take the matter to the Supreme Court.

At approximately 3.30pm (WST) yesterday afternoon I resigned from the Australian Rugby Union Board.

"If they don't want an early release, we will still honour their contracts."

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.

ARU chairman Cameron Clyne announces that the decision on which Australian franchise will be axed will be made in the next "48 to 72 hours".

"We accept that there will be anger and resentment over this decision and we sympathise with those fans. We sincerely hope that they are not lost to the game forever".

I was opposed to the inclusion of an Argentinian team & a Japanese team in Super Rugby.

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