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ARU delays axes decision on Force, Rebels

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/04/2017 Darren Walton

The ARU has offered the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force more time to state their case for Super Rugby survival beyond 2017.

ARU chairman Cameron Clyne says the governing body's initial plan to decide which franchise will be cut from the competition by Thursday had been scrapped.

Rugby WA have issued a writ against the ARU on behalf of the Force, while the Rebels are also considering their legal options as the axe hovers over both clubs ahead of next year's return to a 15-team Super Rugby format.

"The ARU will undertake due process to ensure that both the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force are given adequate opportunity to present their business case before the board makes a final decision on which team to be removed," Clyne said in a statement on Tuesday.

"We maintain our commitment to reaching resolution on this matter as soon as possible, however the timeline that we initially anticipated of 48-72 hours will not apply.

"As confirmed on Monday, we have commenced a consultation process with both teams and will provide an update at an appropriate time."

RugbyWA commenced legal proceedings on Monday night, following an "unsatisfactory meeting" with the ARU earlier in the day.

The RugbyWA board issued a statement saying the peak body had "failed to address the responsibilities that exist in the Alliance Agreement" between the two parties following the ARU's takeover of the Force last year at cost of $4.8 million.

"... we felt in order to protect our position it was necessary to issue legal proceedings to protect our rights under the Alliance Agreement," the statement explained.

The RugbyWA board said the terms of the assessment and process being used to evaluate the Force and the Rebels were "inconsistent and inequitable".

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