Home / World News / Western Force boss says club will struggle to survive without home games in Super Rugby Pacific competition

Western Force boss says club will struggle to survive without home games in Super Rugby Pacific competition

Western Force will struggle to survive without home games in the new Super Rugby Pacific competition, chief executive Tony Lewis has warned.

The Force will lose around $10 million if they cannot play in front of their Sea of Blue fans because of the border lockdown.

Being forced into an Eastern States hub would cost around $75,000 a week.

It is understood professional clubs will have an emergency meeting with the State Government in the next few days and Lewis said they had to “think outside the square”.

Lewis is leading the fight for fly-in-fly-out “clean teams” to be allowed into WA after the border backflip left clubs scrambling to save their seasons.

.Under the SOS – Save Our Sport plan, visiting sides would need to test negative at their airport of departure and again at Perth Airport.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 15: A Force supporter celebrates after a   a try during the round one Super Rugby Trans-Tasman match between the Western Force and the Chiefs at HBF Park on May 15, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)
Camera IconForce fans have regularly turned out to see this side in Perth. Credit: Will Russell/Getty Images

They would go into a bubble at their hotel, travel from their hotel to the game and then immediately return to their hotel or go directly to the airport.

“Teams will struggle to survive … will go to the wall if the government doesn’t help,” Lewis said.

“We need to work out how we can survive financially.

“The government needs to understand that professional teams need surety and understanding.“

The Force is owned by mining magnate Andrew Forrest who spent sent millions keeping the club alive after it was controversially axed in 2017 by Rugby Australia.

But he has always stressed that he expected the club to stand on its own financially.

The Force are also working on another rescue option, flipping fixtures, playing away games early with the hope that border restrictions lift to allow the return matches at HBF Park later in the season.

They are due to kick off their campaign against the Brumbies on Saturday February 19 at HBF Park.

They are also scheduled to play the Reds and Waratahs in rounds three and four at home after the Rebels in Melbourne.

The Brumbies are already preparing to host the opening game with chief executive Phil Thomson saying he could not see the game going ahead in Perth.

Tony Lewis, chief executive of Western Force
Camera IconTony Lewis, chief executive of Western Force. Credit: Unknown/Supplied

The Brumbies are scheduled to host the return game in round six at Canberra Stadium Sunday on March 27.

Talks are being held with Rugby Australia and SANZAR about the possible moves.

The competition fixtures have already been reworked because of New Zealand’s border restrictions that have delayed the trans-Tasman matches until round 10.

The opening nine rounds are Australian derbies and games against the Australian-based Fijian Drua, while the six New Zealand-based teams will start in the Aotearoa competition.

All 12 teams are due to converge on Melbourne on ANZAC weekend with Australian teams then free to travel to New Zealand for the remainder of the season.

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