Western Force made their debut in 2006 and Melbourne Rebels in 2011

The Australian Rugby Union has announced its intention to drop Perth-based Western Force from Super Rugby, although a legal challenge to the decision is being considered.

The ARU is reducing the size of the competition from 18 teams to 15 because of falling revenues and fan interest.

South Africa are to lose two sides in 2018 with Australia losing one.

The decision to drop Western Force has been “guided primarily by financial outcomes”, the ARU said.