‘It’s a sad day for Australian rugby’

Force coach Dave Wessels and captain Matt Hodgson have criticised Sanzaar's decison to axe an Australian Super Rugby franchise.

No sooner had the Force beaten the Kings 46-41 in Perth on Sunday, than Sanzaar announced that Super Rugby will be reduced from 18 to 15 teams next season. 

Two South African teams will be dropped, most likely the Cheetahs and Kings, along with one from Australia. The Australian Rugby Union is reportedly reluctant to get into a legal battle with the Rebels, who have private ownership, while the Brumbies are said to be safe, which means the Force are expected to fall out of the competition.

'It's sad for Australian rugby that we have lost a team,' Wessels said. 'Whichever one of us goes now, I am never going to celebrate that decision, whether it's us or not, I just think it's a sad day.'

Hodgson echoed his coach's sentiments and took aim at Sanzaar for its handling of the situation.

'If it's not us [to get the chop] we won't be celebrating because it's bad for Australian rugby full stop. I think it's a bad sign for Australia rugby,' he said.

'It's frustrating. The way it's been done is probably the most annoying thing. [It's] dragged on. I've done four press conferences this week and had one rugby question.'

Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt