Rugby Australia (RA) chief executive Raelene Castle has rejected suggestions that incoming Wallabies boss Dave Rennie will abandon ship amid ongoing leadership uncertainty.
Castle’s future has been clouded by widespread precariousness as rugby in Australia struggles to stay afloat financially due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The former Netball New Zealand and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs CEO has come under immense pressure in recent times as RA posted a $9.4 million loss last year and is facing the possibility of a $120 million revenue deficit should no rugby be played in 2020.
Those figures and Castle’s uncertain future in her current position led to reports in Australia that Rennie could desert RA should the chief executive be sacked from her role.
However, Castle has asserted that Rennie is “absolutely committed” to joining the Wallabies once his commitments with Scottish PRO14 club Glasgow Warriors come to an end in June.
“Dave is absolutely committed to Australia and I am absolutely committed to seeing the business through these difficult times and ensuring that we can see the Wallabies back playing test matches with the new coaching team that we worked really hard to put together,” she said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I know that Dave and [assistants Scott Wisemantel and Matt Taylor] are working really hard doing the groundwork to make sure the Wallabies are going to be as prepared as they can be and we have a world class practitioner in John Pryor leading our athletic development program. I’m really excited to see that coaching team coach the Wallabies.”
Castle’s confidence comes in stark contrast to sources reportedly close to Rennie, though, who have indicated to the SMH that the two-time Super Rugby-winning coach would be the first to leave if there is a change in power at RA.
Those sources were also unsure whether the likes of Wisemantel and Taylor would last if Rennie were to depart, given the two assistants left high-paying jobs in England and Scotland for Wallabies roles.
The SMH reports that should any tumult unfold, Brumbies head coach Dan McKellar would be the likely beneficiary if Castle, Rennie and anyone else were to leave RA.
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