The group of ten Wallabies captains who expressed concern about how the game was being run before Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle resigned last month have sent another letter to acting chairman Paul McLean. The approach came after some of the former skippers met with former RA director Peter Wiggs, who resigned from the board last week.
The captains are believed to be concerned RA may not push through with commitments made to them by Wiggs. While Rob Clarke was appointed interim CEO last week, it’s believed McLean will continue to represent RA when communicating with the captains.
Meanwhile, Wiggs is set to be replaced on the board by Hamish McLennan, a former Network Ten boss and News Corp senior executive, who might also become the new chairman.
The Wallabies’ 1991 World Cup-winning captain Nick Farr-Jones, one of the ten disenchanted past captains, admitted he could be interested in taking a seat in the board. “I could be tempted to go on the board,” Farr-Jones told Network Ten.
He described the game as being “rudderless” for some time. “You do need some significant reviews about the brokenness of the game and then you have to have a reset,” he said.
Dealing with the ten captains is among several issues currently confronting RA. For instance, it’s believed that the Western Force must accept new participation conditions if they want to play in a revamped Australian Super Rugby competition provisionally set for July.
Rugby Australia have drawn up five and six-team models for a proposed season to replace the Super Rugby tournament, which was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic in March. One model has the WA-based Force playing alongside the four current Australian Super Rugby sides and the other has Japan’s Sunwolves joining and being based in either NSW Or Queensland.
RA believes a model including the Force would make the tournament a more enticing product for broadcasters. They also need to get the green light from state governments and lock in venues.
The Force, who were cut from Super Rugby by RA after the 2017 season, have been involved in discussions with the national body since the COVID-19 shut down though as of Tuesday the Perth-based club had not received a formal invitation to join the new competition.
Cash-strapped RA would not be drawn on whether they will fund any part of the Force’s potential involvement. “The participation conditions for the Force would be newly constructed as they were not part of the original Super Rugby competition,” an RA spokesperson said.
“One of the immediate priorities is to ascertain the Sunwolves involvement in the competition with the current travel restrictions in place. Once this is known we will be able to confirm the final competition construct, draw and participation conditions.”
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