Australian Super Rugby sides Western Force and Melbourne Rebels are likely to enter the final round next week with uncertainty over the future. Both sides have been identified by the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) as likely sides to be cut from the Super League.
The concerned sides were united in a huddle after their game in Perth over the weekend. Force were the victors 31-22 but the gesture after the game went viral.
After the game, Rugby Union Players’ Association (RAPA) president Dean Mumm applauded the gesture.
“It was great to see, obviously hard times for both of those teams at the moment with the ongoing uncertainty. Everyone is working hard to try and make sure that there’s a resolution, one way or the other. But it was great to see the guys united in their cause to keep Australian rugby’s five teams,” Mumm said.
The president asked that the issue be resolved amicably in the best interests of the stakeholders, the ARU, RUPA and the players.
The ARU has met with Rebels informally amid the talks and there is an arbitration hearing in place later this month due to the alliance agreements with Force which they believe guarantees their spot for at least the next three seasons.
Both sides have final round matches in Melbourne this week. Rebels play host to the Jaguares while Force clash with the NSW Waratahs in Perth.
The victory for Force means they are in second position in the Australian conference. The Reds defeated the conference winner the Brumbies 16-15 in a last gasp move at the Suncorp Stadium. The victory lifts them to third place behind Force. The Wuratahs follow in fourth place after losing at home to the Jaguares – this is the first time they would not get any single victory over an overseas team.