The Western Force have dismissed reports their future hinges on next week’s meeting with the ARU, saying the governing body has no legal rights to remove them from the Super Rugby competition.
Either the Force or Rebels will be cut from next year’s reduced competition, with both franchises now exploring their legal options.
The Force have issued a writ in the Supreme Court notifying the ARU of their intentions to apply for an injunction against any plan to boot them out of the competition.
RugbyWA and the ARU will meet next Thursday but the Force deny this meeting will make-or-break their future.
“RugbyWA’s position is clear. Under current arrangements the Western Force is entitled to participate in the Super Rugby competition until 30 December, 2020,” the Force said in a statement.
“There is no basis on which the ARU can purport to remove the Western Force from the Super Rugby competition.
“The ARU must work to ensure that the Western Force remains based in Perth for many seasons to come.
“Put simply, RugbyWA is not required to ‘state a business (or any) case’ for the Western Force to remain in the Super Rugby competition.”
The ARU effectively took over the Force last year in what was dubbed an “alliance”.
But as part of the deal, the Force’s future was guaranteed until the end of the current broadcast agreement in 2020.
Former WA Governor Malcolm McCusker is set to represent RugbyWA in its bid to save the Force if the ARU attempt to axe the Perth-based franchise.
Force players will be aiming to put the ongoing drama aside when they take on the Chiefs at nib Stadium on Saturday night.