Australian mining magnate plans 6-team rugby competition
PERTH, Australia (AP) — Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest is preparing to launch the Indo Pacific Rugby Championship, a six-team competition schedule to begin next August.
Forrest was behind a push to have the Western Force team remain in Super Rugby, but the Australian Rugby Union cut the Perth-based club from the competition for next season. The Force also lost a Supreme Court attempt to have the ARU decision overturned.
Perth is set to be one of the teams in the new league, while Singapore has been mentioned as another.
Forrest on Wednesday said he was in negotiations with the ARU to ensure players who compete in his competition will also be eligible to play Super Rugby and represent the Wallabies.
Forrest said it would be in the ARU's best interests to allow Wallabies players to feature in the new competition.
Last month, Forrest called on Cameron Clyne to resign as ARU chairman over rugby's national governing body's decision to axe the Force from the revamped Super Rugby competition. But the two men have since reconciled their differences, and Forrest said his discussions with the ARU about the new competition had been positive.
"There's been a fair bit of water under the bridge with Cameron and I," Forrest said. "We had a frank and friendly discussion when he was here recently. But now with the Western Force becoming an international team ... there should be nothing but collaboration on behalf of Australian rugby."
Clyne said in a statement that the ARU is "involved in collaborative discussions with Andrew Forrest."
"We do not wish to comment on the specifics of any proposed new competitions while these discussions are at a preliminary stage," Clyne added. "ARU remains committed to maintaining a strong rugby presence in Western Australia and will explore all options in this regard."