Western Australian of the Year, Mr Andrew Forrest AO, today revealed plans to reinstate Australia as the world rugby leader and enhance the country’s opportunity to win the Rugby World Cup in Japan 2019.
The Chairman of Minderoo Group said today that IPRC’s offer to collaborate with the ARU will also provide the significant resources to encourage our finest Australian rugby athletes, currently playing overseas, or considering leaving, to join a vibrant, successful international competition, played in the same time zone and based in Australia.
The IPRC will select its schedule to complement Super Rugby’s and so prepare Australian players and coaches, from both competitions, to help Australia field the greatest team in the world.
The IPRC will work with the ARU to grow Australia’s rugby grassroots support base, inspire young players, attract powerful sponsorship and broadcaster interest and be fast moving and highly spectator friendly.
Exciting innovations related to men’s and women’s 7’s rugby will be incorporated.
Preparation and pre-competition game scheduling has commenced.
Games are being planned now for the Western Force players in preparation for the 2018 season.
The player pathway to the IPRC and the Wallabies will be bolstered with more energy and resources into the National Rugby Championship (NRC) through a significant naming rights partnership.
“We envision the future of rugby union as a most popular global competition in the fastest growing consumer market in the world, where over 60% of the world’s people live in the same time zone,” Mr Forrest said.
The Indo Pacific Rugby Championship will launch with initially six teams playing matches in a friendly time zone critical for sponsors that captures most of the world’s population.
The competition will focus on countries that either have an established, or growing, interest in rugby union.
Markets include, but are not limited to, Australia, Singapore, Samoa, Fiji, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia.
The IPRC will work with other countries in the development of critical skills and capacity for rugby in Asia, providing a clear pathway for the development of players, coaches, referees and administrators across the Indo Pacific region.
The offer includes:
Minderoo will collaborate with the ARU to identify the best Indo Pacific Rugby Championship competition window to avoid direct competition to Super Rugby and is working with the ARU to provide the major sponsorship of our National Rugby Championships.
This multi-year sponsorship is expected to start immediately.
Minderoo and the ARU will work together to enhance the standard ARU contract to enable players to be contracted to the Indo Pacific Rugby Championship for four months each calendar year, considerably defraying ARU and Member Union costs.
National team eligibility:
IPRC contracted players will be eligible for ARU team selection and ARU contracted players will also be eligible for national selection in the IPRC outside of Super Rugby’s competition schedule.
The IPRC will attract our best players back from overseas for the further benefit of Super Rugby and/or the Wallabies.
“We have made significant progress this week,” Mr Forrest said.
“We are now consulting with sovereign governments, international broadcasters, media organisations and other global businesses, with great interest in the Indo Pacific, as well as Australia’s leading coaches and players, both here and overseas.
Mr Forrest said: “This is for all Australians who love our diversity of sport and the game of rugby.
“For all who may have thought that Australian rugby was either dying or would not include them.
“This competition, and our offer of IPRC — ARU collaboration with Super Rugby and the Wallabies, is for them.”