Western Force gain court injunction order against Super rugby axing

  • 14/08/2017
Western Force players celebrate with captain Michael Hodgson during hos final game
Western Force players celebrate with captain Michael Hodgson during hos final game Photo credit: Getty Images

RugbyWA have gained an injunction order against the ARU's decision to axe the Western Force from the Super Rugby competition.

But it still remains to be seen whether RugbyWA get the chance to appeal the Force's axing in the Supreme Court.

RugbyWA have lodged their appeal request to the NSW Supreme Court and they expect to find out by August 21 whether it will be granted.

The injunction order was granted on Monday morning and it means the ARU can't sack or relocate players until the issue is sorted.

RugbyWA are being backed by billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest.

Last Friday, the ARU won their arbitration case against RugbyWA and they immediately axed the Force.

The central issue that was debated in arbitration was whether the ARU had the right to axe the Force under the terms of the 'alliance' deal the two parties formed last year.

The ARU bought the Force's licence as part of that 'alliance' deal and guaranteed the franchise's future until the end of the broadcast deal in 2020.

But the ARU successfully argued at arbitration that the old broadcast deal no longer exists given a new one was negotiated following the reduction from 18 to 15 Super Rugby teams.

Western Force coach Dave Wessels says some of his players were reduced to tears following the ARU's decision to axe the franchise.

"Everyone's pretty devastated. I've tried to phone each player," Wessels said.

"I've had guys in tears and all sorts of stuff. People at this stage are pretty emotional.

"We're just trying to stick together as a group.

"We feel like we've been building something special here over the last few months. Some of the players who have re-signed have actually taken pay cuts.

That's how much they care about the club and the group

"It would be sad to see the group just dissolved all of a sudden."

If RugbyWA win a right of appeal, it could take between four to six weeks before the Supreme Court rules on the matter.

But the injunction order means the ARU can't start redistributing Force players to rival franchises just yet.

NZN