Andrew Forrest has lined up a series of invitational matches involving a mix of international and club teams for the exiled Western Force, suitably named World Series Rugby.

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Forrest’s rugby interest is similar to Kerry Packer’s famous foray into cricket, which was named World Series Cricket. The Packer venture played a significant part in modernising cricket in the 80’s.

The Force will host the teams at NIB Stadium in Perth, playing seven matches against Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Hong Kong and Super Rugby teams Crusaders and Rebels in the June test window.

The Rebels clash in particular will be an emotional affair, with a number of ex-Force players returning to play the side they were forced to leave, including head coach Dave Wessels.

The mining magnate advised the goal is still to grow WSR into an international competition for the Asia Pacific region.

“The focus for 2018 is to reintroduce and reinforce professional rugby in Western Australia for the benefits of our grassroots community, our players and our fans,” Forrest said.

“In 2019, the WSR will evolve into a high-calibre, international competition with the goal of making rugby the community-building sport of Asia.”

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Western Force squad: Aj Alatimu, Chris Alcock, Marcel Brache, Masivesi Dakuwaqa, Rod Davies, Andrew Deegan, Tevin Ferris, Jaque Fourie, Josh Furno, Peter Grant, Chris Heiberg, Rodney Iona, Feleti Kaitu’u, Brad Lacey, Kieran Longbottom, Ryan Louwrens, Cameron Orr, Harrison Orr, Leon Power, Ian Prior, Harry Scoble, Tom Sheminant, Brynard Stander, Elliot Turner, Clay Uyen, Fergus Lee Warner.

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