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Thread: Andrew Forrest offers rugby a way out of the woods

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    Legend Contributor blueandblack's Avatar
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    Andrew Forrest offers rugby a way out of the woods

    Good little summary here: http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...&ct=clnk&gl=au

    "The closing down sale was in full swing. Blue jerseys — let’s just say they were heavily discounted — were walking out the door. The staff didn’t care, not that they were staff any more. Who would have thought that after crying so many tears in recent months, there would be any more left to cry. And yet there were.

    The deed is done but there is still one final stocktake to finish. So let’s get on with it ...

    This is where the Australian Rugby Union’s five-into-four campaign has taken us. In February, when the vote was taken to ditch a Super Rugby side if that’s what SANZAAR, in its infinite wisdom, decided to do, the ARU were portraying themselves as nimble and agile. Goodness, they were veritable ninjas in the way they danced around the questions: Have you determined to cut a team and, if so, which one?

    The word is that when SANZAAR assembled in March in London to discuss cuts, the name “Western Force” was being bandied around quite freely. But the ARU reassures us that this was not the case.

    It all gets a bit messy from here, so let’s hit the fast-forward button ... a deadline of 48 to 72 hours is announced; Brumbies, Rebels and Force named as candidates for the cut; Brumbies excused; Force unceremoniously toss ARU hatchet team out on to the street; Rebels and Force play pass the parcel in terms of favouritism while at home their wives are at wit’s end; the Victorian Rugby Union and the Rugby Union Players Association bring on an emergency general meeting; nothing happens; other states reaffirm “five into four”; ARU demands “best and final offer” from the two teams; some confusion over whether Force sent back a satisfactory reply; Force thrash Waratahs in their final game; Rebels refinance; Andrew Cox sells team for $1 to the VRU; arbitration ruling goes badly for Force; ARU discontinues them; Force appeal; Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest offers ARU anything up to $50 million to get off the Force’s back; ARU politely declines; appeal goes badly, Force sacked again, this time permanently; Twiggy announces a new competition; ARU initially ignores it; Senate inquiry announced, which comes as a surprise to the ARU; first hearing set down for September 20 in Perth.

    A few details may have been lost in condensing the plot and the chronology might be a bit messed up because, frankly, it’s all become a blur. But that’s pretty much it. Except for the emotional damage to the game and the people in it which is, well, pretty much total.

    Western Australia has now sunk back into the pack of “southern states”, along with Tasmania and South Australia and the Northern Territory. It no longer has a Super Rugby team, therefore it no longer has an extra vote. But it seemingly will have a board member, assuming any West Australian can be found by the October 6 deadline willing to fill Geoff Stooke’s vacancy. Today is Mark Sinderberry’s first as an ex-CEO of the Force. Or it might be next Tuesday. It’s all been so chaotic he’s not entirely sure.

    Meanwhile, Twiggy has been busy ...

    He thinks about it and decides $50m really isn’t enough. Decides on $200m, which is less than half the dividend cheque he will receive from iron ore this year. And, dammit, he’s supposed to be giving away his fortune, not amassing a new one. But there is a remedy for that. Rugby.

    He is inundated with interest in his new competition. Makes him think that rugby was crying out for his arrival, irrespective of the Force’s dilemma. NZ provincial sides make contact, so too the South Africans, including one offer from a Super Rugby side that’s supposed to be playing in SANZAAR’s competition. Two prominent Japanese company teams get in touch. So, too, the *Pacific island rugby powers. So, too, Eden Park. Broadcasters showing interest, even the Chinese giant Alibaba.

    The media is hounding him to release details, but he’s not going to be rushed. One of the reasons he does not intend to be rushed is that he plans to make his competition compatible with the ARU. He *figures there has been enough angst already and he wants to ensure that, whatever he does, it won’t impact on the players. They’ve suffered enough.

    At his instigation, he meets with Michael Cheika in Perth. The meeting goes so well they agree to meet a second time. Cheika asks about his plans. Twiggy asks what he can do to help the Wallabies. Cheika, curiously, is in his *element. As a former coach of Stade Francais, he is used to speaking to tycoons. They’re called owners over in French rugby. He knows their language.

    With luck, this is how all future meetings between Twiggy and ARU heavyweights should be conducted. Perhaps it is too late to save Twiggy’s relationship with ARU chairman Cameron Clyne — there are, apparently, only so many times you can call for a man’s resignation before the rapport breaks down entirely. But certainly the Brett Robinsons and John Ealeses can show the way. Perhaps they might ask Twiggy to fill the vacant position on the ARU board.

    However rocky the road has been until now, Australian rugby needs the sort of help Twiggy can offer. Learn from history. In the end, the Australian Cricket Board came to terms with Kerry Packer but surely rugby can be significantly smarter in dealing with Twiggy without the need for outright war. No one wins if things turn hostile. It’s time for peace.

    Rugby is changing dramatically. If the Force are sensible, they will advise their players not to sign any long-term contracts before the end of the SANZAAR broadcast agreement in 2020. If the Sharks head to Europe, this could be the tipping point for the South Africans. They might all decide to head that way. So it might very well be that the Western Force need to reassemble with alacrity over the next year or two to fill a gap. Super Rugby’s usefulness may be coming to an end.

    For the moment, however, the only end in sight is that of the magnificent social experiment that became known as the Western Force. Sadly, unnecessarily, it all ends today. But hopefully in a stadium awash with blue jerseys."

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    I have been feeling really sad this morning about going to the wallabies and putting on my Force gear on but this has helped me feel better! Wow if true about all those interested!! Just need some positive news out of camp Twiggy!!

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    Even if the projected $26 million loss is true (and spread-sheets are wonderful things for giving you the answer that you need; an assumption here, an inflated number there and Bob's your uncle, a $26 million projected loss), there's still the matter of the unfairness of the ARU's solution to its "problem".

    Instead of trying to spread the pain around, the ARU has selected one part of the rugby community in Australia and put all of the penalty on them.

    For the rest of the Australian rugby community in 2018, it will be business as usual. For Western Australian rugby, it is the nuclear option (to borrow a phrase from an earlier article by Wayne Smith).

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    Veteran SNOB's Avatar
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    I won't be able to support ANY other FUARU team until the board is changed, top to bottom.
    I will support the Force in any shape or form, Spirit, indoasian, women's, 10's and 7's.

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    May the FORCE be with you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jules View Post
    I have been feeling really sad this morning about going to the wallabies and putting on my Force gear on but this has helped me feel better! Wow if true about all those interested!! Just need some positive news out of camp Twiggy!!
    Like Westie posted on another thread get on down and watch the juniors today that'll soon get the blood flowing. Let's prove to these fuckers that it's not only about the pro side of things but the juniors get the showing as well.

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    Hear gear snob.

    Fingertips, business as usual for the teams that matter is the only reason the decision went this way. Qld don't want their funding reduced, the will not be able to pay overs for geriatrics, the loss of genia to the rebels is still hurting. NSW don't want their funding cut, they still need to support the sons of their school mates and buy talent to make the team competitive.

    So Oz rugby suffers while Sydney suits save face.

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    C'mon the

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    Meeting to look @ a cover up tattoo/laser removal on my shoulder on Monday

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    Cheese grater

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    Immortal Contributor jono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    Cheese grater
    There isn't enough alcohol in the world to make me that keen.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jono View Post
    There isn't enough alcohol in the world to make me that keen.
    One of those little propane torches fron Bunnings will do the trick. Burns as well as any laser and cheap as chups. HTH

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