Mining magnate Andrew Forrest marked the launch of his Global Rapid Rugby competition today with the ceremonial staking of a WA flag at Cottesloe beach.
Forrest vowed to bring the Force back to life when the club was controversially axed from Super Rugby by Rugby Australia last year.
And he sent out a strong message: “If you are deeply unfair expect to cop it back… on the chin.”
The Force is now set to play teams from Japan, Fiji, Samoa, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia for a $1 million prize in the tournament bankrolled by Forrest.
“People are not going to cop unfairness,” he said.
“When WA, for no good reason, got kicked out of Super Rugby, we said we’ll start a new competition and we have, against all the critics, against all who said it would never happen.
“We are back. We are rewarding risk, we are rewarding loyalty.
“We are full steam ahead now. We are up and away. This show is on the road.”
GRR has morphed from World Series Rugby when the Force played seven invitational matches earlier this year.
When work started on WSR critics said it could not be launched in Forrest’s projected timeframe. GRR now has barely three months before kick-off.
“I heard that when we got World Series Rugby up and running in six weeks,” Forrest said.
“We were told it was completely impossible.
“I reckon three months… we’re lucky we’ve got Christmas otherwise we’d be going too early.”
Only Japan – with a team expected to come from the Robbie Deans coached Panasonic Wild Knights – and a privately owned Hawaii-based side have yet to sign off on their franchise.