LIVE

    Indo-Pacific league takes shape with ARU help

    2017-09-13 07:15

    Sydney - Australian and Indo-Pacific rugby chiefs are working to collaborate on a new league initiated by mining magnate Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest that will allow Super Rugby stars to feature, it was announced on Wednesday. 

    Plans for the competition were flagged by the billionaire founder and chairperson of Fortescue Metals this month after Force lost an appeal against their controversial axing from Super Rugby.

    Forrest said the new league, due to start next year, would initially feature six teams, with the Perth-based Force one of them. 

    The other five would come from either Singapore, Hong Kong, Samoa, Fiji, Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai, Tonga or Kuala Lumpur. 

    In a breakthrough, Forrest revealed he was in negotiations with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) to ensure players who compete in his league will also be eligible to play Super Rugby and represent the Wallabies. 

    This would involve the Indo-Pacific Rugby Championship (IPRC) selecting its schedule to avoid direct clashes with Super Rugby. 

    The plan is to allow ARU contracted players to sign up to the Indo-Pacific league for four months each year, encouraging Australians playing in Europe, or those considering leaving, to instead join the new competition and still be eligible to play for Australia. 

    Currently, only overseas-based Australians who have played a minimum 60 Tests can be selected for the Wallabies. 

    In return, the IPRC would work with the ARU to grow grassroots rugby while attracting sponsorship and broadcaster interest from the booming Asia-Pacific. 

    It would also help to develop player, coach and referee skills in the region. 

    "We envision the future of rugby union as a most popular global competition in the fastest-growing consumer market in the world, where over 60 percent of the world's people live in the same time zone," Forrest said. 

    "We are now consulting with sovereign governments, international broadcasters, media organisations and other global businesses, with great interest in the Indo-Pacific, as well as Australia's leading coaches and players, both here and overseas." 

    The West Australian newspaper said the teams would likely be made up of internationals, Pacific Islanders, expat Australian and New Zealanders and some local players in an attempt to keep all sides on a level playing field. 

    The ARU confirmed it was in talks with Forrest. 

    "ARU is involved in collaborative discussions with Andrew Forrest and his Minderoo team and we look forward to continuing these discussions over the coming weeks," said chairperson Cameron Clyne

    "We do not wish to comment on the specifics of any proposed new competitions while these discussions are at a preliminary stage. 

    "ARU remains committed to maintaining a strong rugby presence in Western Australia and will explore all options in this regard." 

    SANZAAR, the governing body of Super Rugby, decided to reduce the competition to 15 teams from next year after the unwieldy four-conference 18-team model lost favour with fans and led to a slump in television viewers. Two South African teams were also axed.

    What To Read Next

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk

    Fixtures

    Friday, 27 April 2018
    • Hurricanes v Sunwolves, Westpac Stadium 09:35
    • Stormers v Rebels, Cape Town 15:05
    Saturday, 28 April 2018
    • Reds v Lions, Suncorp Stadium 07:05
    • Blues v Jaguares, Eden Park 09:35
    • Brumbies v Crusaders, GIO Stadium 11:45
    • Bulls v Highlanders, Loftus Versfeld 17:15
    Friday, 04 May 2018
    • Chiefs v Jaguares, Rotorua International Stadium 09:35
    • Rebels v Crusaders, AAMI Park 11:45

    Results

    22 April 2018
    21 April 2018
    20 April 2018
    14 April 2018
    13 April 2018
    07 April 2018
    06 April 2018
    01 April 2018
    31 March 2018
    30 March 2018
    24 March 2018
    23 March 2018
    18 March 2018
    17 March 2018
    16 March 2018
    10 March 2018
    09 March 2018
    03 March 2018
    02 March 2018
    24 February 2018
    23 February 2018
    17 February 2018

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    Who will finish top of the SA Conference in this year's Super Rugby tournament?

    Can you name the top Super Rugby tryscorers of all-time?

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.