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Thread: ACT Brumbies now in Australian Rugby Union's gun ahead of Super Rugby cull

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    ACT Brumbies now in Australian Rugby Union's gun ahead of Super Rugby cull

    Nick Taylor | comment, PerthNow

    THE Australian Rugby Union has created a catastrophic nightmare for itself in its handling of the Super Rugby debacle.
    A week ago the ARU announced that either the Melbourne Rebels or the Western Force would be axed and said it would happen within 72 hours.
    But if the ARU powerbrokers thought they were going to easily steamroll over either club, they had obviously not done their homework.
    Within 24 hours of the announcement the Force issued a writ in the Supreme Court notifying the governing body of their intention to apply for an injunction against any plan to revoke their Super Rugby licence.
    The Force claim the ARU has obligations under the alliance agreement signed last May that commits both parties through the current broadcast deal that ends in 2020. Not to be outdone, on Friday night the privately owned Rebels threatened legal action of their own, claiming the ARU had no legal grounds to axe them.
    They warned they would seek compensation if ousted.
    With both sides prepared to exhaust legal options in the fight for survival, the ARU now finds itself in an ugly situation.
    There have already been claims that the ARU board cannot vote to cut a side under its constitution and there have been calls to sack the board.
    Rebels owner Andrew Cox yesterday told his players he would not sell his licence back to the ARU. But ultimately, he is a businessman and if the price is right anything is possible.
    If the Force win their legal battle, then the Brumbies are firmly back in their sights.
    The Brumbies have no alliance agreement with the ARU and are not privately owned, indicating there would be no impediment to stop it closing the Canberra-based side.
    However, there is speculation that Cox might consider a merger with the Brumbies which could make financial sense for both teams.
    Cox is set to lose $2 million of his own money keeping the Rebels afloat this season while the Brumbies are not exactly flush with money.
    They have lost more than $3 million in the past three years, have used almost all their cash reserves and cannot afford further losses.
    Cox, who has put a $4.75 million price tag on his licence, met national body chief executive Bill Pulver this week but both refused to reveal what was discussed.
    The ARU steadfastly refuses to reveal why it is not prepared to lose the ACT-based club. The criteria for the chop is based on finance, high performance, sponsorship and governance – all areas in which the Force say they have better records than either the Rebels or Brumbies.
    Canberra, with a population of less than 400,000, does not have the population to expand in terms of audience ratings and there is no real potential for player growth.
    Rugby is flourishing in WA.
    As many as 13 players in Force match-day squads have come through the Force pathway while officials say it is the only State with a Super side that is growing playing numbers at grassroots level.
    It is understood Brumbies' major sponsors have not re-signed beyond this season while the Rebels do not have a naming rights sponsor.
    The Force, on the other hand, have a four-year $6 million deal with the Road Safety Commission.

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    Cheers nick!!!

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    Good to hear another journalists view on things. Reading the diarrhea that is a Jamie Pandaram article is a waste of time, that dude has an agenda but not much of a clue.

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    Champion Tazzmania's Avatar
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    Andrew Slack in the courier mail also getting behind the Force, Pandaram has been out for us since day one, even in his debate with Paiyten he took the Rebels side, even though both seemed to know very little about the side the were representing in their podcast debate.

    Andrew sla www.perthnow.com.au/sport/rugby/andrew-slack-says-western-force-deserve-to-survive-super-rugby-cull/news-story/39e6602e5958b598770e79857797f219ck

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    The Force Onwards and Upwards

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    I've noticed a couple of other articles similar to this. Perhaps it has started something.

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    The Brumbies are being drawn back into the vortex of the fight for survival in the Super Rugby competition, with both the Western Force and the Melbourne Rebels questioning why the Canberra side was removed from the endangered list.

    The Australian Rugby Union chairman Cameron Clyne announced at his press conference last Monday that the Brumbies had been excused from the process as one of the three teams potentially to be cut from Super Rugby.

    Only the Force and the Rebels remained on the hit list.

    No explanation was given for why the Brumbies were absolved. Indeed, no weighting of items on the ARU’s checklist of priorities has ever been published.

    No one knows, for instance, what weighting is given to “long-term financial sustainability” compared with “fan engagement” or “prospects for growth”.

    While Force and Rebels officials declined to comment on the record about the process, the questions are now coming loud and clear from both camps, and they want answers.

    Given that both franchises are threatening the ARU with legal action — the Force have actually taken out a writ and the Rebels have warned the ARU to desist from saying they could be cut for fear of exacerbating damages in any future lawsuit — it would appear the gloves are off.

    As has been its stance since the original SANZAAR crisis meeting in London on March 10-11, the ARU has made no comment on the hostile Good Friday legal letter that masqueraded as a Rebels press release.

    Clyne was scheduled to appear on ABC Grandstand on Saturday afternoon to talk about the crisis, but withdrew at the 11th hour.

    It is also becoming clear that the ARU negotiated the Force’s demise at the SANZAAR meeting without mentioning that it had signed an alliance with the Perth club when it took it over in August.

    That alliance has largely been ignored by the national body throughout this process although the Force writ went right to the heart of ARU assurances that there would be a Super Rugby presence in Western Australia during the course of the current broadcast deal.

    The ARU is running out of wriggle room but so far has not acted on what seems to be the logical course of action: getting ARU chief executive Bill Pulver back on the plane to Melbourne to see if he can negotiate a deal with Rebels owner Andrew Cox.

    Cox told The Australian he was not interested in selling the Rebels to the ARU if the purpose is to close the club.

    But he has remained tight-lipped about whether he would be prepared to merge his club with the Brumbies.

    Brumbies boss Michael Thomson has consistently denied he is interested in a merger, as has head coach Stephen Larkham, but if the imperative is to trim five teams back to four, then it is shaping as the least-worst option.

    One thing is becoming increasingly clear — one of the biggest losers in all of this, perhaps the biggest loser of all, is the ARU. It has botched this process from the very beginning. But as this imbroglio drags on, the increasing likelihood is that the final outcome will be that nothing is done.

    Although SANZAAR has decreed that a 15-team competition will be in place for next season, that all depends on whether Australia can cut one team and South Africa can shed two franchises.

    At the moment, it appears likely the Australians will end up in court, which would cause massive financial loss.

    The South Africans do not expect to have their position resolved — one way or the other — until June.

    If the Australian experience is any guide, the republic’s six franchises will work harmoniously enough right up to the point where teams are viewed as either saved or doomed, at which point it becomes every man for himself.

    For the moment, however, the Southern Kings are using their rugby to make an impassioned plea to remain in Super Rugby.

    Their matches against the Force and the Queensland Reds over the past week have provided some of the most entertaining rugby of the season.

    Though they lost both times, they scored 11 tries in the two matches.


    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/spor...312f9ef9cfddde

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    Just for the record, the Rebels attendance vs the Brumbies was 7574. Halfway down in this article is the quoted number.

    http://www.foxsports.com.au/rugby/wy...546af2ae219f7a

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    Seriously, you couldn't even script this shit if it was a B grade soap...

    what a debacle.

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    Less ARU legal costs if they shut down Brumbies ... they couldn't keep Mogg or Mowen or even Moore !
    Fardy's off as well as Bernie and then only name in the mix for next season is ... Wessels ?!

    Panto status ... bin the brumbies, anyway where is Canbera ?!

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    Canberra Times have said that the Brumbies are safe even though the Force and Rebels are questioning their worth. The Brumbies have 20 players that have not been resigned yet in their squad.

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    Melbourne Rebels owner Andrew Cox prepared to consider merger

    The Australian: April 26, 2017
    Wayne Smith

    “We’re interested in anything that will help grow the game, *settle this mess and ensure the *viability of the Melbourne *licence.”

    With that quote, Melbourne Rebels owner Andrew Cox gave his clearest indication yet he is prepared to consider a Rebels-Brumbies merger as a means of finally resolving the Australian Rugby Union’s dilemma of which of its five Super Rugby teams to cut before next season.

    A merger seems the only way the ARU could hope to reduce five teams to four in order to meet the deadline of the May 10 SANZAAR board meeting in Tokyo. Even a negotiated merger would be nigh on impossible to bring about by that date — and South Africa has indicated it won’t have finalised its task of eliminating two of its six teams before June — but SANZAAR surely will want to see evidence that the task is under way.

    But if the ARU continues down the path of culling either the Rebels or the Western Force, as management has announced it intends to do, there is no way that another fortnight will bring resolution. The minute the ARU settles on a club, that franchise would instantly launch legal *action.

    Both the Rebels and Force have stated they believe they have watertight cases and the West Australian franchise has already issued a writ demanding that the ARU honour its agreement to maintain the Force as a Super Rugby team in Perth.

    Should threats of legal action become a reality, one of the first orders of business in the discovery process would surely be ascertaining what process the ARU followed when it decided to excuse the Brumbies from the endangered list.

    Significantly, the ARU appears to be clearing the decks for just such a legal process. It is understood that directors have each been sent a note from the ARU’s legal advisers warning them that anything they write in emails or texts might be revealed during the discovery process.


    Incredibly, while the game is tearing itself apart over this issue, the ARU board is not scheduled to meet until June 23 although there may be a phone hook-up of directors in May — presumably before the SANZAAR meeting. It is believed at least some of the directors have not been contacted for more than a week.

    It’s impossible to say anything definitive about who is making what decisions given the ARU’s fixation with secrecy, but it seems the call for the ARU to turn its back on the merger possibility was made by management — the same management that initially recommended the Brumbies be declared “safe”.

    The Australian reported on Monday that some of the ARU directors felt let down by management over how this process has been handled until now. How they might feel about the door being slammed shut on the one possible solution that might not have ended in court action can only be imagined.

    It is understood Cox has had no contact with the ARU since his meeting with chief executive Bill Pulver and general counsel Richard Hawkins on April 12 and when contacted yesterday he was anxious to tiptoe around any criticism of the national body.

    But in a wide-ranging exclusive interview with The Aust*ralian, he indicated he had no idea how the ARU had arrived at its decision to target just the Rebels and the Force.

    He also said he wanted to see significant change to the Super Rugby program, in particular the addition of two more rounds to the regular season.

    “We have no idea why the Brumbies were declared safe in this whole saga,” Cox said. “This is entirely a matter for the ARU and their processes and procedures. We are just focusing on ensuring the Rebels are safe.

    “We are in business with the ARU and always keen for a harmonious and collegial relationship, which we certainly had up to the ARU’s announcement at its (April 9) press conference (that the Rebels were on the endangered list).

    “We’ve requested that the ARU make a public statement to advise the Australian rugby community that it is not in a position to ‘cut or chop’ the Rebels and bring some closure to this most damaging saga for the Rebels, Victorian Rugby, Super Rugby and ultimately the ARU.”

    Though the ARU has been specifically warned by the Rebels that any delay in making this *announcement would only exacerbate any future legal damages claimed, so far there has been no word from the ARU. Indeed, the process continues, with the Rebels and Force the only franchises *involved.

    Cox indicated that he wanted the ARU to put the addition of two more rounds on to the SANZAAR agenda for the Tokyo meeting. And while SANZAAR has shown no interest in addressing the *suspension of Super Rugby during the June Test window until the end of the current broadcast deal in 2020, Cox believes the game cannot wait that long.

    “We would certainly like it on the agenda for their meeting in Tokyo,” he said. “We cannot see any downside whatsoever to *playing two more rounds. I can’t imagine any sensible supporter or administrator thinking this a bad idea.”

    As for the June Test window, Cox left no one in any doubt that it was bordering on lunacy to shut down Super Rugby for a month while the internationals were played and then resume them, a fortnight before the finals.

    “We have to do away with this completely stupid concept,” he said. “We will play our last home game at AAMI Park on May 27 against the Crusaders and the next time we play in Melbourne is July 14 against the Jaguares, seven weeks later.”

    Cox said his Rebels players hated the enforced break. And if the NRL could continue its season during the State of Origin series, why couldn’t Super Rugby be played during Tests, he asked. If there was a Test in Sydney, he said, there was no reason why Super Rugby games couldn’t be staged in other states.

    “We’re only talking 35 players in the Wallabies squad out of 200 paid professionals around the country.”

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/spor...7d28a12b5333a6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ham105 View Post
    [SIZE=3]“We’re only talking 35 players in the Waratahs squad out of 200 paid professionals around the country.”

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/spor...7d28a12b5333a6
    Fixed

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    C'mon the

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    The fact that the Rebels feel like they have to go to the media to get the Rebel's position across means that this has become a dogs breakfast.

    Anybody who tells you they know the outcome of this mess is lying, could be as big as the Spanish Inquisition by the time this is over. Seems to become more complicated the longer this situation goes on.

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    Did anyone expect the Spanish Inquisition?

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    Quote Originally Posted by travelling_gerry View Post
    Did anyone expect the Spanish Inquisition?
    Yes. But I didn't expect it to outsource the operation to the Keystone Cops St Leonard's Branch.

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