Rugby Australia respond to WAGs send-off scandal after Wallaroos uproar
Rugby Australia have admitted they have a “way to go” to improve conditions for the Wallaroos and have pledged to keep players involved in their plans.
Australia’s 15-a-side women’s rugby team presented a united front on Sunday in taking to social media with a statement lashing the sport’s governing body.
They claimed there were inequities between the investment and resources in the women’s and men’s national programs and said their team had been lied to.
A spokesman for RA responded to the Wallaroos, saying the governing body was “taking steps” to invest in the women’s game, with Australia hosting the women’s World Cup in 2029.
“Rugby Australia will continue to involve the Wallaroos playing group, through RUPA (Rugby Union Players Association), in all planning and developments regarding investment in Women’s Rugby,” the RA statement said on Monday.
“We are taking steps towards a fully professional future for the Wallaroos and investing more broadly in women’s rugby across national and community competitions – and we know we have a way to go.
“In line with RA’s commitment to incorporate players on this journey, RA will continue to meet with the elected Super W representatives from each Super W team, the RUPA Women’s Player Director, and the Wallaroos leadership group to listen and work together, to support our female athletes and their coaching and support teams.”
Among the complaints from the the Wallaroos, the players said RA told them there was no money for full-time playing contracts at the time they were recruiting league star Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii on a multi-million dollar deal.
The women said they were still waiting for their school teacher coach Jay Tregonning to be made full-time, while Wallabies coach Eddie Jones had six assistants at next month’s World Cup.
The women criticised travel arrangements, saying they recently flew economy to Canada for two matches while their male counterparts enjoyed business class on their long-haul flights.
The Wallaroos were also angered by the World Cup “send-off” for the men’s team, who flew out to France last week.
The collective social media statement was believed to be prompted by a TikTok video that showed partners of the male players being flown to farewell them in Sydney.
Wallaroos star Georgie Friedrichs commented on the RA post: “Rugby Australia … @wallabies WAGs getting more funding than the Wallaroos team.”
The funding of women’s rugby in Australia is significantly lower than leading nations such as New Zealand and England, whose top players are fully professional.
The Wallaroos made the quarter-finals of the Women’s Rugby World Cup last year in New Zealand and have qualified as one of the world’s top six teams for the new WXV1 competition in October.
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