Sydney - The Australian Rugby Union said on Friday it has
established a working group to assist in the development of the new
Indo-Pacific Rugby Championship.
The group will be headed by former Wallabies flank and
current ARU board member Brett Robinson and includes key high performance,
commercial and legal representatives from the ARU management team.
"The ARU is making a serious commitment to work in
collaboration with Andrew Forrest's team to develop the IPRC concept and will
assign a small management team to assist with the core elements of establishing
the competition," ARU chairperson Cameron Clyne said in a statement.
"There is a significant amount of detail to work
through and it is critical for ARU to be able to fully understand how it can
support the IPRC and ensure it plays a constructive role in building the game
across the country and producing successful Wallabies and national teams.
"We understand the urgency on getting alignment on the
key issues of calendar alignment, player contracting and player eligibility,
which is why we have committed ARU resources to work through these elements as
soon as possible.
"Ultimately the most important outcome is to find a
solution that creates a stronger Australian rugby."
Clyne said the ARU will also consult with others outside the
management team, including coaches, to ensure that it is working towards the
Plans for the six-team competition were flagged by the
chairperson of Fortescue Metals Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest this month after
Perth-based Western Force lost an appeal against their controversial axing from
The mining magnate said this week he was negotiating with
the ARU to ensure players who compete in the league would also be eligible to
play Super Rugby and represent the Wallabies.
The new competition, due to start next year, would initially
feature six teams, with Force one of them.
The other five would come from either Singapore, Hong Kong,
Samoa, Fiji, Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai, Tonga or Kuala Lumpur.