News Corp outlets are reporting that Perth-based Super Rugby franchise Western Force will be cut from the competition in 2018-19.
The Force, which entered Super Rugby in 2006, will be the Australian team scrapped along with two from South Africa, should the competition be cut to 15 teams. It is believed that a 15 team model is preferred by SANZAAR.
As it stands the two other Australian franchises that were under threat, ACT Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels, are set to survive.
With Australian Rugby Union or any host broadcasters not commenting on the situation, the decision to axe the franchise hinges on the willingness for South Africa to drop two of their own franchises. The two teams from South Africa that could be cut is far from clear.
Force players who are under contract would have their deals honoured by the ARU and will be dispersed to the four remaining Australian franchises.
The ARU purchased the intellectual property of the Force last year, due to serious financial issues, effectively taking ownership of the team.
Last week, the Force put out a prospectus allowing fans to purchase a share of the club for $1000 each with the aim of raising between $5 million – $10 million to secure its financial future. A new company specially set up to buy the Force, Western Force Owners Ltd, was setup but if the money cannot be raised then buyers will receive a refund for every share purchased.