Forrest's new rugby comp excites players

Andrew Forrests's Indo Pacific Rugby Championship will feature six teams and kick off in August.

Andrew Forrests's Indo Pacific Rugby Championship will feature six teams and kick off in August.

Former Wallaby Matt Hodgson says his phone has been ringing hot with high-profile players expressing interest in joining Andrew Forrest's new rugby competition.

Forrest officially launched the Indo Pacific Rugby Championship this week, with the inaugural season to kick off in August next year.

The lucrative tournament will initially feature six teams, with places like Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Tonga, and Samoa in the mix to host a franchise.

Forrest was left fuming when the ARU axed the Western Force, and initially wanted his new competition to swallow up Super Rugby.

But the billionaire has since changed his tune, and wants the competition to work hand-in-hand with the existing rugby set-up in Australia.

The three-month IPRC will run after the Super Rugby season, and Forrest is urging the ARU to support it.

If the ARU endorse the competition, it would mean players could feature in it without harming their Wallabies prospects.

Forrest said the IPRC, which is set to feature lucrative contracts, will help retain Australia's finest players, as well as lure back those who are plying their trade overseas.

Hodgson, who is the director of sports relations for the IPRC, says he has already received widespread interest in the competition.

"I'm getting hundreds of calls from players who are interested, and managers and coaches as well," Hodgson said.

"Former Wallabies who are playing overseas, people that have stopped playing recently, and players who are playing for other provinces.

"It's an exciting time for Australian rugby."

Technically, the ARU still own the Force's licence but Forrest is confident he will be able to buy it back in order to use the Western Force name for the Perth-based side in his competition.

The ARU bought the Force for $800,000 last year, but Forrest won't have to fork out nearly as much to get it back.

"Really I'd expect the value of that would be a little bit less than what they gave to the Victorian Rugby Union, which was $1," Forrest said.

"They actually cancelled our licence, so the claim to it would be tenuous."

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