Why ARU should force Rebels out

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Western Force.

Andrew SlackThe Courier-Mail

I DON’T understand much about commerce, and I never understand legal speak.

You might ask why I bother to keep an eye on the rugby at all, because at the moment these things are the only talking points surrounding the code.

I’m sure I’m not the only confused one.

Since last week’s announcement that one of our five Super Rugby teams will be disbanded, the passion so often evident in an underdog has been vehemently expressed by parties within the under fire teams – the Melbourne Rebels and the Western Force.

Many seemingly relevant and well-expressed views have been forwarded by connections of the clubs and it’s impossible not to admire their tenacity as they lay down their cases for survival.

PODCAST: Jamie Pandaram and Iain Payten dissect the ARU’s decision to cut an Australian Super Rugby team and the implications this has on the game

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I expressed my views, (uncluttered by the messy intricacies of contracts and other such legal issues) several weeks ago.

In short, I don’t believe Australia has the platform for five teams.

I’m not prepared to sacrifice potential short-to-medium term success and stability, for a long-term goal of rugby growing exponentially across the continent.

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It is a goal I believe has minimal chances of being attained.

Of course, the people supporting the retention of the five-team scenario argue that this goal is achievable. It’s a case of “he says, she says” and there’s no way to know who’s right.

The Rebels look set to survive axe.

The Rebels look set to survive axe.Source:AAP

Ultimately, someone had to make a decision and the ARU Board has – or more’s the case, has been forced to.

If one is to go, which one then should it be?

When a fourth team was first mooted, I was a supporter of Melbourne, purely on the basis of the costs and movements associated with geography and the fact it was crowding the territory the NRL had infiltrated.

The Western Force won that battle though and after more than 10 years’ involvement in Super Rugby would be my choice to remain.

The geography issue remains the same, but their support base has been strong and faithful despite limited success, and the chances of establishing a growing rugby footprint appears to be greater than that in Melbourne where there are so many AFL teams and a regularly successful Melbourne Storm to tempt fans whose rugby persuasion is a movable feast.

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The complication there is private ownership.

None of this is easy. Jobs and livelihoods are at stake.

The players’ futures have been widely spoken about, but for the ones whose talents deserve it, there are options within Australia and outside.

It’s not so easy for administration and coaching staff.

Alternative options are fewer than for the players.

The bottom line is that professional sport is a pit of vipers.

It’s a numbers game and sadly, the numbers just haven’t added up and someone will be paying the cost.

Originally published as Why ARU should force Rebels out

SOURCE: newsnow sport