RA trying to rebuild relations with WA

Adrian Warren
Outgoing Rugby Australia CEO Bill Pulver (file) says WA rugby wounds will take a long time to heal

Outgoing Rugby Australia CEO Bill Pulver admits it will take a long time for the wounds in Western Australian rugby to heal, but he feels the first steps to rebuilding his organisation's relationship have been taken.

WA rugby fans were furious with RA after it decided to cull the Western Force following a decision to shed one Australian Super Rugby side.

In the new Collective Bargaining Agreement announced on Wednesday, RA has guaranteed WA will continue to have an National Rugby Championship side until the CBA expires.

"Part of this agreement is locking in an NRC team for WA for the reminder of the period through to 2020 and that was a very important issue for them," Pulver said.

"When you combine that with the effort we're making, we've locked in now community rugby funding agreements over in WA and we're doing everything we can to get the relationships back in place.

"But I fully acknowledge it will take time."

When a suggestion was made to Pulver that peace had been restored with WA, he said "that perhaps would be an exaggeration".

"There are a lot of people over there I consider myself very close friends with who are hurting enormously from our decision to cut their team and I totally understand that.

"Had I lived in WA, I would have felt exactly the same way."

Pulver, who will be replaced by Raelene Castle next week, remained adamant that cutting a team had been the right course of action given Australia's poor performances in Super Rugby over the past couple of years.

"I think across Australian rugby in general there is a real understanding that this was the right change for the game," Pulver said.

"The right change for a sustainable future for the game.

"It will take a long time for those wounds to heal, but we'll work as hard as we can."