Judgment day has arrived for the Western Force, but don’t expect the long-running saga to end just yet.
The Force will find out their fate at midday NZT when NSW Supreme Court judge David Hammerschlag hands down his findings relating to RugbyWA’s appeal.
The ARU axed the Force from the Super Rugby competition last month after winning their arbitration case against RugbyWA.
RugbyWA had argued the ARU had no power to axe the Force because the governing body signed an “alliance” deal guaranteeing the franchise’s future until the end of the broadcast deal in 2020.
But the ARU successfully argued in arbitration that the deal no longer stood because the TV rights have since been renegotiated to accommodate for a reduced 15-team competition.
RugbyWA, backed by billionaire Andrew Forrest, sent the issue to the NSW Supreme Court.
And after 12 days of mulling over the decision, judge Hammerschlag now has an answer.
However, that answer isn’t expected to bring the saga to an end.
If the Force win, the ARU might appeal.Or the ARU might try to see if they can chop the Melbourne Rebels instead.
If the ARU win, then RugbyWA might try to challenge the decision in the High Court of Australia.
Another option is for Forrest to make the ARU an offer they simply can’t refuse.The ARU have already rejected a package worth about AU$50 million from Forrest.
But that ‘no’ might turn into a ‘yes’ if the offer is boosted.In the meantime, Force players are waiting nervously in the background.
Force lock Adam Coleman says most of the players already have a plan B in place in case the Force do fold.