MINING magnate Andrew Forrest continues to put his money where his mouth is, offering up a million dollar first prize for next year’s expanded Global Rapid Rugby series.
Shutting down talk he was considering stepping away from the Asia Pacific tournament, Forrest has instead upped the stakes.
Forrest has funded the competition for the past two years following the Super Rugby axing of the Western Force by Rugby Australia.
Global Rapid Rugby will expand into a home-and-away competition in 2020, with up to eight Asia Pacific teams competing for $1 million in prize money.
“We decided to use 2019 to introduce the Asia Pacific to Global Rapid Rugby’s brand of the game and this proved to be a good call,” Forrest said.
“The players loved it, communities embraced it and it has been great for rugby.
“We have formed the strong foundation needed and look forward to bringing Rapid Rugby’s innovative and entertaining game style back to our region’s growing fan base, with $1 million in prize money.”
Western Force coach Tim Sampson and captain Ian Prior have both re-signed to lead the team in the competition.
Just a day before the Bledisloe Cup match at Perth’s Optus Stadium Forrest used the announcement to needle Rugby Australia about their commitment to WA.
“Saturday night’s turnout will be a timely reminder to the nation that Western Australia is a critical part of the future of rugby not just in this country but across the entire region,” he said.
“It’s the people of Western Australia that have kept the sport alive in this state.”