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Western Force boss rallies support for “solution” to Australian rugby

Western Force boss Nick Marvin has called on Rugby Australia to back his club’s vision for Australian rugby as a “solution” to poor attendance and results.

Pressure is mounting on RA CEO Raelene Castle to act on the outpouring of support for the Force by publically backing their proposed new competition.

The Force returned to the field earlier this month for the first time since being cut from the Super Rugby last year.

A crowd of 19,466 people turned up to see the Force beat Fiji in the first game of World Series Rugby, which is larger than any home crowd for an Australian Super Rugby side this season.

That was followed by a crowd of more than 16,000 to see the second game against a Tongan outfit.

“I honestly believe that what we are doing, even though we are in a pilot phase, may be the answer for rugby,” Mr Marvin told Macquarie Sports Radio’s Cameron Reddin.

The Force are playing seven games against both international and domestic teams, with all matches played at nib Stadium in Perth.

“There is no doubt that what we are doing is very unique, it’s outrageous, it’s out of the box. So I understand for a governing body that it is not easy to work and give us what we need,” Mr Marvin said.

Queensland Reds’ heartbreaking 38-34 loss to the Hurricanes on Friday night extended Australian Super Rugby sides’ losing run against teams from New Zealand to 40.

But, the Force boss says his organisation is working on a new brand of rugby, including a number of rule changes to speed up the play, that would bring fans back to the game and improve pathways for players.

“Look at the numbers. Whether it’s participation, whether its attendance and whether its wins and losses. The facts don’t lie,” Mr Marvin said.

“We do need some sanctions that we hope we will receive in the not-too-distant future.”

Mr Marvin said he remains hopeful Rugby Australia will support the Western Force’s ambition to stay on the field, in the absence of an iron-clad guarantee from Raelene Castle.

“We are working with Rugby Australia. It hasn’t progressed much further, but we really do hope that we will get the sanctions we require quite soon,” he said.

Any future competition would need to be sanctioned by Rugby Australia. Mr Marvin says the Indo-Pacific Championship would require investment eight times that which they plan to make in 2018.

Click below to listen to the full interview.

Cam Reddin