14 Aug 2017

Court battle starts over Force axing

6:31 pm on 14 August 2017

The Western Force have won the first stage of their legal battle against the Australian Rugby Union's decision to axe the franchise from Super Rugby.

Richard Hardwick in action for the Western Force in a match against the Sharks earlier this year.

Western Force players in action against the Sharks Photo: PhotoSport

Rugby Western Australia have gained an injunction order against the ARU's decision which means the ARU can't sack or relocate players until the issue is sorted.

But it still remains to be seen whether RugbyWA get the chance to appeal the Force's axing in the New South Wales Supreme Court.

RugbyWA have lodged their appeal request to the Supreme Court and they will find out on August 23 whether it will be granted.

RugbyWA are being backed by billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest.

"We won," Forrest said after the injunction was granted.

"It is one small, moral victory in the long battle to save this great team but it is a good one to have over those who have shown total ruthlessness towards the players and the proud rugby community that stands behind them.

"This entire process by the ARU has been a secretive, arrogant farce and one that is incredibly disrespectful to the game of rugby union."

Last Friday, the ARU won their arbitration case against RugbyWA and they immediately axed the Force.

Western Force coach Dave Wessels says some of his players were reduced to tears following the ARU's decision to axe the franchise.

"We feel like we've been building something special here over the last few months. Some of the players who have re-signed have actually taken pay cuts. That's how much they care about the club and the group"