6 Sep 2017

NZ Rugby not interested in rebel competition

10:35 am on 6 September 2017

New Zealand Rugby is showing no interest in a a rebel competition in Australia.

Perth billionaire backer Andrew Forrest has effectively declared war on the Australian Rugby Union, vowing to launch a rebel competition to ensure the Western Force avoid extinction.

However New Zealand Rugby say they're committed to SANZAAR and Super Rugby until the end of the current contract.

The current deal ends in 2021.

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Photo: AFP

The Force's participation in Super Rugby appears over, with RugbyWA losing its NSW Supreme Court appeal.

Forrest will consider taking the matter to the NSW Court of Appeal or the High Court in a bid to reinstate the Force.

But the chances of winning that appeal are slim, with Forrest turning the bulk of his attention towards launching a rebel competition taking in the Indo- Pacific region.

Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest

Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest Photo: ABC

Forrest will reveal more details in coming days, but says the competition will likely feature six teams.

It was suggested that teams from Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand and Tonga could be part of the competition, and possibly an Australian team taking in NSW or Queensland country towns.

Forrest aims to make the competition so strong that other Super Rugby franchises will eventually join as well.

"I think SANZAAR has been a very clear mistake for Australian rugby - shrinking the game as opposed to growing it," Forrest said.

"I would not be surprised, and I would be encouraging South Africa and New Zealand and the other (Super Rugby) teams to come across (to this new competition).

"The Indo-Pacific region is broad. Broadcasters need huge populations and huge economies.

"They are not represented in SANZAAR necessarily with NZ, Australia and South Africa dominating it.

"But if we get up to the Indo-Pacific region, that's where all the world's economic growth is.

"That's where the world's population is. And that's where the game of rugby will be very powerful and centred from Western Australia."

Force great Matt Hodgson broke down in tears on Tuesday before the media.

He pledged to help Forrest launch the new competition.

But Force players might leave the franchise in droves to join rival Super Rugby outfits.

Wallabies trio Dane Haylett-Petty, Adam Coleman and Tatafu Polota-Nau said they were unsure about their futures, but they wouldn't rush into any decisions.

Devastated Force coach Dave Wessels was also unsure whether he would remain.

Wessels, who would be in high demand elsewhere, said he would talk with his family before making a decision.

Forrest again called on ARU chairman Cameron Clyne to resign, saying the former NAB chief executive should have stuck to running a bank.

But Clyne hit back, saying Forrest's offer to help simply came too late.

The ARU released a document late on Tuesday, claiming it would have become insolvent by 2019 had it tried to retain all five Australian franchises.

But those figures were formulated before Forrest offered the ARU a package worth around $50 million on the condition it kept the Force.