ARU chairman Cameron Clyne.
ARU chairman Cameron Clyne.

ARU surprised by Senate inquiry into Force axing

THE Australian Rugby Union has been blindsided by the news it is subject to a Senate inquiry into its axing of the Force but says it has "no concerns" about the integrity of its process.

The ARU will be forced to reveal full documentation and potentially sensitive email trails after Western Australian Senator Linda Reynolds on Wednesday had her motion for an inquiry carried after the messy Super Rugby cull saga.

The ARU issued a statement on Thursday responding to the news.

It said it understood WA's disappointment at losing the Force but was surprised to learn that it would be subject to such a high level inquiry into its actions.

"We have acknowledged that we have been limited in the level of information we could provide publicly on the Super Rugby process while we were subject to court action commenced by RugbyWA, and to confidentiality obligations in the relevant agreements between the ARU and RugbyWA," ARU chairman Cameron Clyne said.

"Following Tuesday's result in the NSW Supreme Court, we were able to address this to a significant degree by providing a detailed record of the process via a statement and supporting documentation, which remains available for public consumption on the ARU website.

"I can also confirm that ARU has been in dialogue with the Federal Government, through the Minister for Sport, Greg Hunt MP, during this process and has discussed the reasons for moving from five Super Rugby teams to four.

"ARU has absolutely no concerns about the integrity of the process that has been run.

"While it is a highly unusual step for Government to single out a national sporting organisation for this type of process, particularly when there is no policy or legislation under review in relation to Australian Rugby, we welcome the opportunity to address the committee.

"To date the ARU has enjoyed a productive working relationship with the Federal Government.

"Throughout, the Government has made it abundantly clear that it does not want to interfere with the way in which sports operate and make decisions, but it appears this stance has now changed - this is a concern for the entire industry.

"Certainly there will be questions asked as to whether an inquiry like this is a suitable use of public funds."