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Thread: The future of WA rugby

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    The future of WA rugby

    Dear Western Australian Rugby Community,
    With the removal of the Western Force from Super Rugby we have all endured an extremely difficult
    and emotional time for our sport. Though the feeling of loss and betrayal still lingers the RugbyWA
    board assures you that Rugby Union is alive and well in Western Australia and most importantly, we
    have a plan.
    We are deeply committed to maintaining and building depth and strength in our great game from the
    grassroots level in Under 6’s to our top senior and professional grades.
    Our plan begins with ensuring that we do not take another backward step by consolidating what we
    still have in place today. It culminates with the Western Force running onto the NIB pitch to defeat
    the Waratahs in the next version of Super Rugby or competing in the Indo Pacific Rugby Championship
    finals in Perth against Hong Kong. We are fully committed to taking our rightful place back at the
    table.
    A new Strategic Plan will be rolled out in due course. We write to you now to outline the general
    thinking behind a range of areas that directly affect Rugby in Western Australia including our
    overarching plan, the current focus of the RugbyWA Board, our high-performance pathways (Future
    Force), the Indo Pacific Rugby Championship and engagement of Rugby Community Volunteers.
    RugbyWA Plan
    The overarching plan of RugbyWA is a simple one and we hope that it’s a plan that you will all get
    behind:
    - Put the fight with Rugby Australia behind us either way.
    - Shore up the business model to ensure:
    o We retain our High-Performance Facility for Pathway and Professional development.
    o We maintain and develop the Future Force Academy.
    o We retain the support of the Government through what will be rocky financial times.
    o We continue to strengthen the bonds we forged through the recent turmoil between
    Community, Club, Schools and the Professional elements.
    o We increase community engagement in developing the future of our Game in WA.
    o We build a sustainable financial model
    - Super Charge the Perth Spirit to ensure we retain our NRC participation beyond 2018.
    - Support the IPRC through our Pathways and our fan engagement.
    - Be ready in 2021
    RugbyWA Board
    The board remains intact, united and committed We are currently engaged with the following matters:
    - Resolving claims from Rugby Australia relating to our legal cases.
    - Closing out the Own the Force Campaign. All funds are now returned, together with details
    allowing you to donate to help maintain and grow our game in Western Australia.
    - RugbyWA fiscal planning to sustain the RugbyWA facility, all staff and community programs.
    - Planning for transition to a new constitution that will reflect our new Strategy.
    - Working through the normal planning process leading into the Annual General Meeting which
    will be scheduled in quarter one of 2018.
    Page 2 of 4
    - We are engaging with former Western Force sponsors to retain their support for community
    rugby in WA and the Perth Spirit. This includes planning for our re-entry into professional
    Rugby in the Future.
    - RugbyWA is committed to developing community rugby into a strong, vibrant competition by
    continuing the engagement with our clubs.
    - We are excited to announce that Bob Hunter has taken on the role as our CEO. Bob brings
    strong community and business planning credentials to our team.
    - For the moment Mark Sinderberry remains in an advisory capacity providing continuity and
    support for Bob and his team.
    - Community rugby at senior and junior levels will continue to be managed by our committed
    staff and will develop strongly in 2018 with the recently announced launch of the new groundbreaking
    Club competition.
    - RugbyWA has a plan and staff to sustain all current functions for competition management,
    education, school support and development operations.
    RugbyWA Finances
    The loss of the Western Force not only devastated our Rugby Community, it also placed a significant
    financial burden on our State Union, RugbyWA. Challenges include but are not limited to;
    • A Long- Term Lease commitment for our Headquarters that we currently have no revenue
    stream to underpin.
    • Loans from the State Government that were invested on the basis of our expected long- term
    participation in Super Rugby.
    • Partially unmet legal fees associated with our attempts to save our Team from the axe.
    • Ongoing claims from Rugby Australia for reimbursement of their legal fees.
    • A State Government and various departments that backed Rugby and now have little to show
    for their generous support.
    • A world class Rugby Academy (Future Force) that is the only one of its kind in Australia now
    facing a very uncertain future in terms of the program itself and the talented boys and girls
    we have been developing and feeding into professional Rugby in Australia.
    It’s no secret that all Australian Super Rugby franchises have and will continue to struggle with the
    financial challenges that are embedded in this tournament. The model is broken and the architects
    are scrambling to cover their tracks and somehow recover. Axing the Force was the next best idea but
    that will fail to solve the core issues.
    Before being axed from the competition the Force had taken some significant strides in looking to
    change our business model to break free from this spiral. The very promising Own the Force campaign
    was the first of a number of cornerstone fiscal plans we had planned to put into motion. There were
    others.
    Discussions on the “NEXT” Super Rugby tournament will commence in less than 18 months. A
    competition of some form will commence in 2021 and there is broad speculation as to what form it
    will take. For now, we need to Right the Ship and then build our financial strength so that when
    opportunity knocks to re-enter the “NEXT” phase we are first in line with a healthy balance sheet, a
    sustainable financial model and a robust pathway program. Programs we are actively considering are;
    • Support from the Community at large (Sea of Blue) in the form of modest annual
    memberships.
    Page 3 of 4
    • The current individual members of the Future Force Foundation continuing to support the
    Academy and Pathways.
    • Loyal Corporate Sponsors continuing to support our Game and our Teams.
    • Grants and Government assistance.
    • A longer- term reinstatement of the successful but now abandoned “Own the Force”
    program.
    • Funds flowing back down to Clubs and Grassroots programs.
    State of Play – ARU situation
    As indicated above, we are engaging in dialogue with the ARU over costs relating to their legal case.
    The outcome still has a high element of uncertainty though we expect a resolution should be reached
    within the next two weeks. Please be aware that this may not end positively for either party and may
    require us to take certain further steps to protect our position. Despite this potential hurdle we can
    confirm that in parallel with resolving our differences we are also engaged with Rugby Australia in
    detailed future planning particularly around ensuring rugby in this State is sustained and pathways
    maintained for all of our aspiring rugby participants.
    We recognise that while there is strong community anger at the actions to date, in the end there are
    strong reasons for RugbyWA remaining engaged and working collaboratively with the national body,
    particularly around rugby operational systems and the high-performance pathway for all players and
    coaches.
    High-Performance Pathway
    We can confirm that the following programs relating to high-performance are intended to remain in
    place:
    - RugbyWA’s high-performance pathway will be retained and will move forward with a firstclass
    program available to all WA participants, male and female.
    - This includes the retention of all Academy and State team programs under the coaching
    leadership of Steve Anderson and Ben Brugman and with support from Rugby Australia.
    - We are planning to expand all levels of the Pathway programs and are working in close
    cooperation with the Future Force Foundation to grow its capital base to release more
    funding.
    - The future of Perth’s participation in the National Rugby Championship in 2018 is confirmed
    by Rugby Australia. We are working on high performance plans to ensure we have a successful
    2018 Tournament to further secure the future of our team in this National competition.
    - For now, the Perth Spirit NRC team will be the pinnacle of our Pathway Program in Western
    Australia from which players can be selected for Super Rugby, IPRC and Wallabies honours.
    Indo Pacific Rugby Championship and Minderoo
    This vision announced by Andrew Forrest AO has enormous potential. The facts are clear, rugby union
    in Asia is gaining in popularity and with 60% of the world’s population in our time zone, interest from
    major companies and influential people, the business and sports model is compelling.
    Page 4 of 4
    Though Mr Forrest and his Minderoo Team intend to develop the tournament independently with
    their own management and operational teams we are pleased to confirm that Bob Hunter is part of
    the IPRC working group, and Geoff Stooke is on the IPRC Steering Group confirming important
    RugbyWA input.
    IPRC has recently announced the following key elements:
    - The Tournament will be held annually from March through June commencing in 2019
    - The Tournament will run parallel with current Super Rugby program
    - Minderoo are hoping to confirm that Wallabies Pathways will be endorsed by Rugby Australia
    for the IPRC.
    - The program has initial support from World Rugby (formerly IRB)
    At present subject to further engagement with the IPRC we see RugbyWA and Community Rugby’s
    role in supporting the new Tournament to be:
    - Providing a Pathway for Future Force/Club/NRC players into IPRC.
    - Possible sharing of High Performance Facilities at RugbyWA.
    - Providing options for IPRC players to compete for the Perth Spirit in the NRC tournament.
    - Engagement with the supporters of Rugby in Western Australia.
    Rugby Community Volunteers
    The passionate commitment from our ‘Sea of Blue’ and supporters of rugby in WA has been absolutely
    amazing and sincerely appreciated. The enthusiasm and support from fans that fill the hill, the
    messages and emails of support and offers to help has been overwhelming and is testament to why
    the heartbeat of rugby in WA is so loud and strong.
    We propose to shortly facilitate a Strategic Planning Session for all volunteers to engage in. The
    intention of such a session is to align the efforts of our volunteers to support the goals and vision for
    rugby in WA. We shall send out a separate communication inviting all of those who interested to join
    us in a workshop. We expect this will take place around late-November, once some of the speed
    bumps outlined above are negotiated.
    Thank you very much for taking the time to read this letter, together we can build a strong, highly
    skilled and sustainable union for our young players to participate in, as well as those “young at heart”.
    We look forward to working with you to bring the fun and excitement back into our community. May
    the Force be with you.
    Yours in Rugby
    The Rugby WA Board
    https://www.rugbywa.asn.au/wp-conten...-Community.pdf

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    Last edited by volvo; 08-11-17 at 10:07.

  2. #2
    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    TWF Contributor!
    Cheers for posting that Volvo

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    Veteran beige's Avatar
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    Good news about Perth Spirit.

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    Champion Bakkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beige View Post
    Good news about Perth Spirit.
    Absolutely. Don't think it was really in question with Twiggy underwriting and sponsoring. I couldn't imagine him doing that without a WA team.

    The nonsense surrounding the legal costs is concerning.

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    Player UAUdiver1959's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    The nonsense surrounding the legal costs is concerning.
    Yes, as I said yesterday that is being negotiated as we type. In addition to what RugbyWA paid our own lawyers to contest our axing (~$600k~ish) Rat's Arse are after about ~$800k to pay for their own legal costs.

    They will look extremely bad if they pursue this through the courts. Be assured, this would bankrupt RugbyWA.

    It will look bad when they forgave the Brumbies ~$1.4m and the MRRU about ~$14m. But Rat's Arse are absolutely broke. As reported (but not confirmed), Qld have had their hand in the till already and had a loan (but no Alliance Agreement) to pay out Stiles and Connelly and we are thinking that the MRRU are either living off the Vict State Government money or have already had a little loan from Rats Arse as well.

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    Senior Player andrewM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    The nonsense surrounding the legal costs is concerning.
    All good mate, I sent off the letter and $1 last week

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    Quote Originally Posted by UAUdiver1959 View Post
    Yes, as I said yesterday that is being negotiated as we type. In addition to what RugbyWA paid our own lawyers to contest our axing (~$600k~ish) Rat's Arse are after about ~$800k to pay for their own legal costs.

    They will look extremely bad if they pursue this through the courts. Be assured, this would bankrupt RugbyWA.

    It will look bad when they forgave the Brumbies ~$1.4m and the MRRU about ~$14m. But Rat's Arse are absolutely broke. As reported (but not confirmed), Qld have had their hand in the till already and had a loan (but no Alliance Agreement) to pay out Stiles and Connelly and we are thinking that the MRRU are either living off the Vict State Government money or have already had a little loan from Rats Arse as well.
    So broke they could turn down 50 million?? So the sums really add up don't they! Seriously this lot are a bunch of clowns! Is there any word on how much money was donated? I gave my own the Force money. Was hoping it's helping with things...

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    Not sure if it's good news, shows there is no guarantee beyond 2018. What sort of comp runs where the clubs don't have unlimited participation guarantees? None that I know of. Slow bleed of RWA by ARPoo, just buys them time (& clean air) for when they end participation after 2018 (remember one of the reasons re: Force was costs/travel).

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    Champion Bakkies's Avatar
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    What sort of comp runs where the clubs don't have unlimited participation guarantees?
    Super Rugby.

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    Only after the association colludes with international bodies and entraps a franchise to sell themselves under the provision of growing the game while actual true intention is to close it down - why Force was always the only option.

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    The board remains intact, united and committed We are currently engaged with the following matters
    I Like that bit too.

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    Pleasing that RugbWA has taken the time to communicate to us and signal their planning for the future is well underway - also very good to see they have retained some linkages to the IPRC (I was worried they seemed to have drifted apart).

    No doubt lots of work to do yet if we are to rise again, but very good to hear it is underway, we may get a good shot at it in 2021.

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    Veteran beige's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UAUdiver1959 View Post
    Yes, as I said yesterday that is being negotiated as we type. In addition to what RugbyWA paid our own lawyers to contest our axing (~$600k~ish) Rat's Arse are after about ~$800k to pay for their own legal costs.

    They will look extremely bad if they pursue this through the courts. Be assured, this would bankrupt RugbyWA.
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    Thanks for the info Volvo. I would be interested in attending the planning session whenever it might be

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    I think we will be back in 2021, till then we need to tell RA that we need to keep the Spirit in the NRC and have the Gold return for the ARS

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