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Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

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Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby bolleje » Thu, 24 Aug 2017, 15:09

With the recent news that Western Force has gained the right to have an appeal hearing, there was also a tidbit in most reports about them having a backup scenario in starting an Asian League. (source: eg. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/ ... ugby-axing)

"If the Force’s appeal is unsuccessful, Forrest has pledged to start up a new international rugby competition that will see the Force compete with teams from Asia."

Does anybody have any more info or insight on this? With Japan already having both the Sunwolves and the Top League, and Singapore also hosting some Sunwolves games... not sure where they think they can get competitive and commercially sustainable Asian teams for this?? Best case scenario, they might lure the Fiji Warriors away from NRL and add the Hong Kong Dragons and maybe a Korean team. But that makes 4 teams? Where are they going to find more? Kazachstan? China? The division 1 Asian nations are currently Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates. Not a big connaisseur of Asian rugby, but I doubt any of them have the interest to support a big team, although the Emirates do have the money...

Anybody else thoughts on this? For me, it looks like bluffing...

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby dropkick » Thu, 24 Aug 2017, 16:15

It would be very hard to do because they would need big investment and time for it to grow. The pro14 is also open for business and is a league thats already up and running but even so bringing in new teams is still a challenge. The force would have to start a league from scratch.


Maybe they could set up a tournament that would be a second division to super rugby and have relegation and promotion. A tie in with super rugby would be the only way I could see it succeed.

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby STMKY » Thu, 24 Aug 2017, 16:59

What are the dates of this new Asian tournament? If in the period from May to October, then you can talk to the Siberian clubs of the Enisei-STM and the Krasny Yar.

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby NaBUru38 » Thu, 24 Aug 2017, 18:40

How about the Western Force becoming a Barbarian-style touring team?

Rhys Bosley wrote: http://www.theroar.com.au/2017/08/14/is ... m-the-aru/

Does rugby in Western Australia have to die with the Force, or could Western Australia go it alone and create its own successful professional competition and representative team?

The final step would be to establish a Western Australia representative team, which would seek games with second-tier international sides like Japan and other Asian nations, the Pacific Islands, the USA and Canada.

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby victorsra » Thu, 24 Aug 2017, 18:59

I believe the Western Force directors are thinking about Alibaba's investment in China, Singapore's AP Dragons and Japan's Panasonic Wild Knights bids to enter Super Rugby... and of course about the Pacific Islands.

Maybe they'll talk to Top League to form a new August-January league and thrive in that period. Top League has 16 teams and of course a Asia-Pacific League should have less Japanese teams.
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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby sk 88 » Thu, 24 Aug 2017, 20:23

Forrest is worth $5 billion. He can drop millions on this just to stuff the ARU for fucking them over.

In a total balls out dream world you could have Krasnoyarsk teams, a KL team, a Singapore team, Hong Kong, plus some mainland China teams and the Western Force. All in roughly the same time zone and the Russians need to play their summer which is Perth's winter. If he wanted more Australian teams he could have Adelaide too. Could do a cross-border European Cup style tournament with the Top league.

That's all assuming he wouldn't rather run a proper rebel comp and just try to run rival teams in Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland etc.

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby Working Class Rugger » Fri, 25 Aug 2017, 02:41

sk 88 wrote:Forrest is worth $5 billion. He can drop millions on this just to stuff the ARU for fucking them over.

In a total balls out dream world you could have Krasnoyarsk teams, a KL team, a Singapore team, Hong Kong, plus some mainland China teams and the Western Force. All in roughly the same time zone and the Russians need to play their summer which is Perth's winter. If he wanted more Australian teams he could have Adelaide too. Could do a cross-border European Cup style tournament with the Top league.

That's all assuming he wouldn't rather run a proper rebel comp and just try to run rival teams in Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland etc.


Which he could look to do. In Sydney he'd probably be able to convince the group behind the Rams in the NRC to get on board. They'd love any opportunity to be able to stick it to the ARU. There'd be others as well. He could probably get a Queensland entrant as well. With the Rams he'd be able to get the Sydney premier clubs to align with them as well. Which means a direct line to a key developmental pathway. Ideally he'd look to get 4 teams up and running. Centrally contracted and run. From there he could look to link up with HK who run a professional squad and something like this would be ideal for them. The AP Dragons (though I'd change that to Singapore) potentially the Wild Knights and three mainland Chinese teams. Two full rounds of 18 games plus finals.

All within the most ideal time zones. Then there's the suggestion that another West Australian billionaire is getting behind the Force in the form of Kerry Stokes (worth about $2.8 billion). He owns Seven West Media. Who have among other media assets Channel 7. Arguably the largest and most successful FTA TV channel in the country. So, there's the possibility of TV coverage to boot.

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby RugbyLiebe » Fri, 25 Aug 2017, 06:32

Working Class Rugger wrote:
sk 88 wrote:Forrest is worth $5 billion. He can drop millions on this just to stuff the ARU for fucking them over.

In a total balls out dream world you could have Krasnoyarsk teams, a KL team, a Singapore team, Hong Kong, plus some mainland China teams and the Western Force. All in roughly the same time zone and the Russians need to play their summer which is Perth's winter. If he wanted more Australian teams he could have Adelaide too. Could do a cross-border European Cup style tournament with the Top league.

That's all assuming he wouldn't rather run a proper rebel comp and just try to run rival teams in Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland etc.


Which he could look to do. In Sydney he'd probably be able to convince the group behind the Rams in the NRC to get on board. They'd love any opportunity to be able to stick it to the ARU. There'd be others as well. He could probably get a Queensland entrant as well. With the Rams he'd be able to get the Sydney premier clubs to align with them as well. Which means a direct line to a key developmental pathway. Ideally he'd look to get 4 teams up and running. Centrally contracted and run. From there he could look to link up with HK who run a professional squad and something like this would be ideal for them. The AP Dragons (though I'd change that to Singapore) potentially the Wild Knights and three mainland Chinese teams. Two full rounds of 18 games plus finals.

All within the most ideal time zones. Then there's the suggestion that another West Australian billionaire is getting behind the Force in the form of Kerry Stokes (worth about $2.8 billion). He owns Seven West Media. Who have among other media assets Channel 7. Arguably the largest and most successful FTA TV channel in the country. So, there's the possibility of TV coverage to boot.


What really, really puzzles me: why didn't those two billionaires get behind the Western Force earlier?
Last edited by RugbyLiebe on Fri, 25 Aug 2017, 06:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby FLIDTA RISXVA » Fri, 25 Aug 2017, 06:46

All this reminds me 1995 World Rugby Corporation saga

Had it succeded then the World of Rugby would be much healthier today - without clan of cheating blazers


why did those two billionaires didn't get behind the Western Force earlier?


Force is just a pawn -- they want to OWN the entire region, and now there is a CHANCE

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby sk 88 » Fri, 25 Aug 2017, 09:10

As I understand it the Western Force didn't think the ARU would fuck them over like this, in fact thought going to the central body would give them a direct line to more central decisions and resources, so when they were in a spot of bother last year preferred to go to the ARU than the private sector.

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby Working Class Rugger » Fri, 25 Aug 2017, 13:02

sk 88 wrote:As I understand it the Western Force didn't think the ARU would fuck them over like this, in fact thought going to the central body would give them a direct line to more central decisions and resources, so when they were in a spot of bother last year preferred to go to the ARU than the private sector.


That's pretty much what has been quoted in the media. From both the Force and Forrest. The other explanation is an opportunity. Forrest is a businessman and looks for the opportunities to enter the market that advantages him. He may have determined that this is the opportunity to get into the game that offers the most return. I don't want to speculate what that payoff may be. Probably gaining a significant degree of political capital within the game but we'll have to wait to see how things turn out.

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby eal22 » Fri, 25 Aug 2017, 15:49

I would be surprised if this is anymore than smoke and mirrors. The Western Force won't survive without Super Rugby - are the fans really going to be interested in playing teams from Astana, Colombo, Irkutsk, and Seoul?

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby STMKY » Fri, 25 Aug 2017, 16:36

eal22 wrote:I would be surprised if this is anymore than smoke and mirrors. The Western Force won't survive without Super Rugby - are the fans really going to be interested in playing teams from Astana, Colombo, Irkutsk, and Seoul?


There are no rugby clubs in Astana and Irkutsk. Enisei and Krasny Yar from Krasnoyarsk. This is between Astana and Irkutsk, in the center of Siberia :)

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby victorsra » Fri, 25 Aug 2017, 18:01

No rugby in Astana? All Kazakh rugby is in Almaty?

I think the chance of commercial success in Korea now is nule. The crowds are always small and their Union looks to be failng in promoting rugby, although they have a fancy rugby stadium there (I believe built for the Asian Games). Their first step is to have a team playing in the Top League, like that talk about a Hyundai team playing there.
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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby Working Class Rugger » Sat, 26 Aug 2017, 00:13

eal22 wrote:I would be surprised if this is anymore than smoke and mirrors. The Western Force won't survive without Super Rugby - are the fans really going to be interested in playing teams from Astana, Colombo, Irkutsk, and Seoul?


The funny thing is knowing what West Australians are like they'd show up in numbers to spite the ARU. They are the most isolated population in the country geographically and are fiercely parochial about that. An opportunity to put it up the east coast elites would be all the motivation they'd need.

If this were to eventuate I think we need to look at the realities of the situation and the geography that will be involved. None of those you have mentioned would be involved. It would be first and foremost Asia-Pacific based as in terms of time zone and cultural relevance (Australia isn't nearly as white as many assume. We have significant and rapidly growing Asian migrant/heritage populations far in excess of either SA or NZ) which means any alignment will be with South-East Asia.

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby eal22 » Sat, 26 Aug 2017, 03:43

How many of these South East Asians have an interest in Rugby?

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby Neptune » Sat, 26 Aug 2017, 04:00

RugbyLiebe wrote:
Working Class Rugger wrote:
sk 88 wrote:Forrest is worth $5 billion. He can drop millions on this just to stuff the ARU for fucking them over.

In a total balls out dream world you could have Krasnoyarsk teams, a KL team, a Singapore team, Hong Kong, plus some mainland China teams and the Western Force. All in roughly the same time zone and the Russians need to play their summer which is Perth's winter. If he wanted more Australian teams he could have Adelaide too. Could do a cross-border European Cup style tournament with the Top league.

That's all assuming he wouldn't rather run a proper rebel comp and just try to run rival teams in Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland etc.


Which he could look to do. In Sydney he'd probably be able to convince the group behind the Rams in the NRC to get on board. They'd love any opportunity to be able to stick it to the ARU. There'd be others as well. He could probably get a Queensland entrant as well. With the Rams he'd be able to get the Sydney premier clubs to align with them as well. Which means a direct line to a key developmental pathway. Ideally he'd look to get 4 teams up and running. Centrally contracted and run. From there he could look to link up with HK who run a professional squad and something like this would be ideal for them. The AP Dragons (though I'd change that to Singapore) potentially the Wild Knights and three mainland Chinese teams. Two full rounds of 18 games plus finals.

All within the most ideal time zones. Then there's the suggestion that another West Australian billionaire is getting behind the Force in the form of Kerry Stokes (worth about $2.8 billion). He owns Seven West Media. Who have among other media assets Channel 7. Arguably the largest and most successful FTA TV channel in the country. So, there's the possibility of TV coverage to boot.


What really, really puzzles me: why didn't those two billionaires get behind the Western Force earlier?

Because they wanted to adapt a watch and wait scenario, before investing billions in a route that wasn't so sure. Basically avoid pumping money into a black hole.

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby ihateblazers » Sat, 26 Aug 2017, 04:19

eal22 wrote:How many of these South East Asians have an interest in Rugby?


Malaysia had 15,000 for the Asia 7's the other week. More than HK or even Japan gets for any non major world class match/tournament

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby Working Class Rugger » Sat, 26 Aug 2017, 04:47

eal22 wrote:How many of these South East Asians have an interest in Rugby?


More than you'd think. Then there's the prospect for many to be able to see teams from their nation of origin/descent compete here more regularly. You'd be surprised.

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby eal22 » Sat, 26 Aug 2017, 14:39

I would happily be proven wrong, but I would have concerns about the competitiveness of any Asian League, you would think the other teams would at least need to be at the level of the Sunwolves, can the Asian markets really support 5-7 teams of such strength?

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby SallesNeto_BR » Sat, 26 Aug 2017, 17:45

Let's see... For a first moment:

Western Force +
1 HK side (maybe Kowloon RFC?) + 1 Chinese side* >> derby
1 Malaysian + 1 Singaporian >> derby
1 SL side (probably Kandy SC)

*other Chinese franchises could be inserted for the future

Port Moresby is also a possibility, althought rugby league is more popular. There's a lot of links between Australia and PNG.

A second Australian team would be needed to make the national derby. Would a team from Darwin or Hobart be viable? It's not so small towns. As far as I know, their states doesn't have any team in the NRL, AFL, ANZ, A-League or NBL.

Another option would be Adelaide, but the sports market seems to me very saturated.

I guess a 7 team-league could work very weel with 14 weeks (2 byes per team) + playoffs. It's not so different of Super Rugby calendar.

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby eal22 » Sat, 26 Aug 2017, 21:39

Adelaide is not viable for a Rugby team, it is not exactly a vibrantly growing city and what corporate dollars there are are sucked up by the two AFL teams, with the Adelaide A-League team getting the scraps. Simply no room for Union or League. Darwin is tiny and Hobart has no notable rugby presence.

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby NaBUru38 » Sat, 26 Aug 2017, 22:03

If I were to start a professional rugby competition in Asia-Pacific, I'd do a sevens series with rounds in Tokyo, Seoul, Mumbai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, etc.

With just one round per city, it's much easier to attract crowds.

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby Coloradoan » Sat, 26 Aug 2017, 23:43

NaBUru38 wrote:If I were to start a professional rugby competition in Asia-Pacific, I'd do a sevens series with rounds in Tokyo, Seoul, Mumbai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, etc.

With just one round per city, it's much easier to attract crowds.


Starting a 7s tournament circuit with very few pre-existing identities is a recipe for disaster. There is no way to build loyalty to the teams when the "home" team plays in the home town once a year and most of the team has few ties to the city, as would be the case in such a tournament. There's a reason there is no pro 7s circuit anywhere in the world beyond the international game, where each team has a pre-existing identity that fans easily understand and can root for or against.

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Re: Western Force potentially looking for an Asian League

Postby thatrugbyguy » Sun, 27 Aug 2017, 01:29

There would need to be at least two other Australian teams in the mix to make something like this worth while. There are really only two options in this case, South Australia and Far North Queensland (Townsville). Northern Territory (Darwin) doesn't have the facilities, maybe a team from Newcastle in northern NSW is an option also. Team up with the Chinese league, add teams from Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. Something like this would be workable:

Western Force
Far North Queensland (Townsville)
South Australia
Hong Kong Team
Japan Team
Asia/Pacific Dragons (Singapore)
4 Chinese Teams

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