Life after death seems a better probability now that the Western Force, axed from Super Rugby in 2017, are close to rejoining the fray as one club in Rugby Australia’s effort to get the code back up and running in Australia.
Super Rugby has been having a tough time for years now. Eliminating the Western Force was costly. There has been near constant upheaval of one sort or another, with former RA boss Raelene Castle being the latest high-profile name to get the heave.
International play remains out of the question for the present, as well as the foreseeable future and there remains much to be put in a proper line if Super Rugby is to persist beyond 2020.
Castle made the misstep of chasing a better broadcast deal, which seemed risky at the time, as only the most loyal of a diminishing number of union fans any longer cared about what was taking place on Super Rugby grounds around the world.
In recent weeks, RA has been running through executives at an alarming rate. Recently elected board member Peter Wiggs lasted a matter of weeks. The shuffling in the executive suite has an almost tele nova-like note to it.
One of the primary advocates for domestic Super Rugby is Tim Sampson, who is still listed as the Western Force coach on the company stationery.
The Force is actually alive and with us, playing in something called Global Rapid Rugby.
Sampson’s primary aim is to make Super Rugby a domestic competition, but he indicates that he would include clubs from New Zealand.
“Importantly you want to play against the best teams, and of course New Zealand has been very consistent with their Super Rugby clubs over the years, they’ve been very powerful. Looking after ourselves is really important,” Sampson said.
Keeping the competition in the same time zone might find favour with players, and let those other countries figure things out from that end.