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So, what do you do when your professional rugby team has been cut from the big League? If you're an Aussie billionaire, you start a new league to find a place for the team.
This is the proposal of Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest, a western Australian mining magnate whose pro rugby team, Western Force, were recently eliminated from Super Rugby Championship, a decision that engendered a legal battle, which he lost.
Forrest, worth over US $1.2 billion, plans to start a new league called the Indo-Pacific Championship with six teams coming possibly from Australia, Singapore, Samoa, Fiji, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Sri Lanka, or Malaysia. The inaugural season would begin in August 2018. Importantly, the Western Force would be the Australian team entry. The competition would consist of ten matches with a four-team title playoff.
Forrest's aim is twofold: to begin a second tier competition that might eventually merge with Super Rugby, offering promotion and relegation opportunities, and to lure back from Europe, leading Australian players.
He has started negotiations with the Australian Rugby Union to ensure that Aussie players who compete in the new league can qualify to play for the Wallabies.
Throughout the world, rugby is witnessing multi-national plans to start new professional entities, and to expand existing leagues with new teams.