Forrest, who had supported the Force’s legal battle to stay in Super Rugby, said that the new Indo-Pacific competition would feature six teams from “key countries” across the region. He added that the competition would begin with an international game, although he urged Force players to “stay strong” to give him time to be fully briefed.
The Force had appealed against the Australian Rugby Union’s decision to axe the franchise by claiming in an arbitration process that the club had signed an agreement with the union to guarantee a place in the Super Rugby competition through to the end of the current media-rights deal in 2020. However, the ARU said that a new media-rights deal would be in place from 2018 due to the tournament contracting.
“This is the beginning of the new Western Force and the new Indo-Pacific rugby competition based on a fast-moving game, highly spectator and player friendly, in full formal competition, as well as a new seven a side competition,” Forrest said after the court hearing. “This will include strong encouragement of women’s’ rugby. This new Australasian rugby format will tap deep into the burgeoning interest in rugby that exists amongst countries in the time zone that is aligned with WA.
“We have recruited world class, sport futurists and experienced rugby leaders to design a smart and prosperous new rugby format that will appeal to players, coaches, fans, sponsors and broadcasters. Discussions with international commercial partners, member unions, elite players and the WA Government have commenced, and, as soon as we can, we will let the fans know all the exciting details.”
"It is to be remembered that ARU owns the Force," Justice David Hammerschlag said in his case notes. "If the alliance comes to an end, it owns the Force unconditionally without any potential obligation to sell it back in the future, and can do with it what it likes, even destroy it."