The Twiggman starts a Forrestfire….
Aussie Billionaire and Rugby Enthusiast Andrew Twiggy Forrest is confident his Indo-Pacific Rugby Championship (IPRC) will go ahead even, if Rugby Australia (RA) does not approve it.
The knight in shining armour who rode in to save the Force towards the end of the Super Rugby Dumping Saga has been negotiating with Rugby Australia for several months as he works at setting up his “rebel” IPRC. His arrival on the Force scene was a little too late, but he is determined to make up for the lateness of his arrival by any means, fair or foul.
It appears that the biggest stumbling block in his negotiations with RA has been whether Rugby Australia will guarantee that players who participate in the IPRC will also be eligible to play for Australia at Test level. RA are understandably reluctant to provide this guarantee as it would instantly denigrate from the competitive strength and marketability of their Super Rugby franchises. Twiggy’s financial resources might just pull a number of Wallabies across to his competition. (Shades of Kerry Packer?)
They are not keen to see a “rebel” competition vying for the already sparse viewer and spectator support that Super and Test Rugby attracts in Australia. These are the two competitions that provide the SANZAAR television revenues, the financial bread & butter on which Aussie rugby survives.
Australian Rugby already suffers from a paucity of media coverage, disinterest even, for rugby, and Twiggy’s IPRC threatens to draw attention even further away from the RA competitions and teams. And that cannot be good for the traditional game……
Forrest has revealed that he will go ahead with the IPRC whether the Australian game’s governing body gives their blessing or not and the six-team tournament is set to start in 2019.
Twigs told AAP: “We’ll either get Rugby Australia’s approval, or we won’t,
But either way we’re going to roll, and we’ll be playing internationally.”
This could just be the beginning of the end for rugby as we know it in Australia.