New South Wales Supreme Court judge David Hammerschlag has granted Rugby Western Australia leave to appeal the Australian Rugby Union’s (ARU) decision to axe the Western Force from Super Rugby, the southern hemisphere’s premier rugby union club tournament.
Rugby WA claims that the ARU has broken an agreement to guarantee a place for the Force in Super Rugby until December 2020. The case will be heard by the New South Wales Supreme Court.
According to ABC, mining tycoon Andrew Forrest made a Aus$50m (€33m/$39m) offer to the ARU to keep the Force in the tournament. However, the ARU rejected the offer yesterday (Tuesday) and decided to stick with its original decision, which was confirmed following the conclusion of a lengthy arbitration hearing earlier this month.
"We were genuinely appreciative of Andrew's generous offer to back the Western Force and Australian Rugby, however, given the position we are in we are unable to work towards retaining five teams in Super Rugby," ARU chairman Cameron Clyne said.
“We are at the final stages of this process and Australian Rugby's constituents have voted to reduce Australia's Super Rugby representation to four teams and we have made commitments to Sanzaar.”
Sanzaar is the body that oversees Super Rugby, which features teams from Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa.