KEO News Wire

Coronavirus: Force to play in Australia-based Super Rugby competition starting in July

The Force have agreed to play in an Australia-based Super Rugby competition, which is set to begin on July 3.

The 2020 Super Rugby season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic and with travel restrictions in place around the world, New Zealand has launched its own domestic competition and Australia is doing likewise.

The Force spent 12 seasons in Super Rugby before being cut from the competition in 2017.

In a statement on Wednesday, Rugby Australia (RA) confirmed the Force had officially signed to play in the Australia-based competition, which it is aiming to stage from July 3 through to September 19.

“We are very pleased that Western Force has come on board for Vodafone Super Rugby AU and we look forward to releasing the final elements of the competition, including the season draw, in due course,” RA interim chief executive Rob Clarke said.

“We remain in dialogue with the Sunwolves around their potential involvement in the competition, but we now know that we have at least five teams secured and will continue our discussions with Fox Sports and our commercial partners over the coming days.”

It means the Force will join the Brumbies, Rebels, Reds and Waratahs in Australia’s competition.

Incoming RA chairman Hamish McLennan said: “The return of the Western Force in an Australian-based competition is a great story.

“We are grateful for Andrew Forrest’s support and understand that decisions made by Rugby Australia in 2017 were painful for sports fans in Western Australia and the Force players, and we are sorry that they haven’t been able to share in the rivalry against their fellow Australian teams.

“I would love to continue to work with Andrew into the future as we use this opportunity to innovate and reinvigorate rugby right across the country.

“Our Australian derby clashes are always up there with the most popular matches each season and it will be great to see those rivalries ignited again in a national competition. Wallabies spots will also be on the line as Dave Rennie and his coaching team run a keen eye over the competition ahead of the international season.

“The players are hard at it in preparation and we can’t wait to get the season restarted on July 3.”

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