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Western Force dealt another hammer blow after NSW Supreme Court judgement

The Roar logo The Roar 5/09/2017 Daniel Jeffrey

Western Force players in a huddle. © AAP Image/Richard Wainwright Western Force players in a huddle. The New South Wales Supreme Court has handed down its verdict on the Western Force’s appeal against being cut from Super Rugby, and it’s not good news for rugby fans in Western Australia.

The court dismissed the Force’s appeal against the arbitration ruling last month which went in favour of the ARU, allowing the game’s governing body to cut the Perth-based franchise.

The Force responded to the decision with a statement, unsurprisingly saying they were “disappointed” with the result of the appeal.

“This now means the ARU have the ability to remove the Western Force from the Super Rugby competition,” the statement read.

“Based on previous correspondence we are expecting the ARU to confirm the termination of the Western Force’s participation in the Super Rugby competition. We understand that the ARU intend to continue with the Perth Spirit in the National Rugby Championship.”

RugbyWA also repeated their claim that the ARU had made the decision that the Force was the only team that could be cut back in February.

“As we understand, the ARU had formed the view in February this year that the Western Force were the only team that could legally be removed from the competition, for the ARU to suggest there was an objective and transparent process, evaluating the merits of both the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels, was misleading and disrespectful to both RugbyWA and the Victorian Rugby Union.

“This has caused significant damage to both the game and the Super Rugby competition and reflects poorly on the ARU’s own values of honesty and integrity.”

The decision by Justice David Hammerschlag throws the future of the Force franchise into serious doubt, although the saga could well continue to drag on. It is possible that the Force will take the matter further, something flagged in their response to the verdict.

“RugbyWA will evaluate its legal options and consider grounds to seek leave to appeal to the NSW Court of Appeal in the coming days. RugbyWA also welcome the proposed Senate inquiry proposed by Senator Linda Reynolds into the conduct of the ARU.”

The Force’s billionaire backer Andrew Forrest, along with a number of other key members of the RugbyWA hierarchy, are due to speak to the media at 11am (AEST).

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