Andrew Forrest has today launched a seven-match international rugby series featuring the Western Force that will act as a precursor to the planned Indo Pacific Rugby Championship in 2019.
The World Rugby Series will be played at NIB Stadium and is set to kick off on May 4 with the Force taking on Fiji.
The series will trial a number of new initiatives aimed at making the game more appealing to spectators and players including the introduction of a three-point line for field goals, similar to basketball, 10-point tries and time limits on scrums.
The Force was axed from the Super Rugby competition by Rugby Australia last year.
“The focus for 2018 is to reintroduce and reinforce professional rugby in Western Australia for the benefits of our grassroots community, our players and our fans,” Mr Forrest said
“In 2019 the WSR will evolve into a high-calibre, international competition with the goal of making rugby the community-building sport of Asia.”
The new competition will see the Force play Tonga, Samoa, Hong Kong and Super Rugby outfits the Melbourne Rebels (which includes several former Force players) and the Christchurch-based Crusaders with the final fixture in August still to be decided.
The Force will also unveil a fresh logo.
Force chief executive Nick Marvin encouraged supporters to show their support by attending the seven home games.
“The Force fans have been such a crucial factor in the club’s, and ultimately the sport’s, future in WA,” he said
“We want to show our gratitude by bringing them matches which will entertain, inspire and leave them on the edge of their seats.”
The Force team will also play in the National Rugby Championship from September to November.