Former Wallabies captain Nick Farr-Jones has urged Rugby Australia to take a New Zealand-styled approach to controlling the game.

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Farr-Jones and former Wallaby Phil Kearns have led a campaign for change over the past week, wanting to see a system in place where Rugby Australia would rule the game.

“The constitution of rugby has to change,” Farr-Jones told The Rugby Wrap podcast.

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“I said, ‘we have to go down the NZ Rugby approach, which they adopted when the game went professional in 1996. We have to make sure Rugby Australia actually does rule the game and the franchises basically align to them in relation to everyone they employ in their support structures’.”

Farr-Jones shared his thoughts with RA executive chairman Paul McLean and influential new director Peter Wiggs earlier in the week and said the ideas were well received.

Rugby Australia’s board were set to meet today to discuss an interim chief executive to fill the void left by the departure of Raelene Castle.

A board source told the Sydney Morning Herald the coronavirus pandemic had given the organisation fresh impetus to drive change.

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Centralisation is a threatening issue for major states New South Wales and Queensland. Under the Rugby Australia constitution, as voting members with more than 50,000 participants, they effectively enjoy a collective controlling vote on any issue requiring constitutional change. The SMH reports reform along the path of centralisation will be a sensitive issue and would require strong arguments that any proposed change will benefit the game as a whole, and not just establish RA’s power.

While RA is looking to improve their current system, NZR has launched a review into its own Super Rugby model to identify ways it could be improved.

The review, which has been named Aratipu, is taking place to ensure the future success for the clubs and competition on and off the field.

“NZR is committed to SANZAAR and our broadcast agreement with Sky TV for the next five years. The review is about ensuring our Super Rugby remains relevant, sustainable and our fans are entertained and engaged,” NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said.

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