Rugby Australia could be set for a new chief executive at the helm of the union, according to a report out of Australia.
The Daily Telegraph is reporting that, after finding herself on the outer in recent days, incumbent boss Raelene Castle may be usurped as CEO of the organisation by former Wallabies captain Phil Kearns.
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The report comes after RA was widely criticised for its unjustified self-praise during Monday’s annual general meeting, where it gave itself a 72 percent performance rating for 2019.
At that same meeting, the union announced a $9.4 million loss for the year, which featured a quarter-final exit by the Wallabies at the World Cup, the Israel Folau saga, severely low attendance figures and numerous high-profile player depart Super Rugby.
A sense of frustration has reportedly grown amongst key stakeholders towards those in charge of the game in Australia, with the final nail in the coffin coming after Castle failed to secure a new broadcast deal.
Kearns, the two-time World Cup winner who played 67 tests for the Wallabies and now commentates for Fox Sports, was in the running for RA’s top job in 2017, but reports indicate that he has the support to challenge for the role of chief executive next year.
A growing fracture between RA and the Rugby Union Players’ Association has added increased turmoil as the two sides look to reach an agreement over player pay cuts during the coronavirus shutdown.
A statement released by RUPA on Saturday morning laid bare the breakdown in talks with Australia’s governing body.
“Australia’s professional rugby players are awaiting the delivery of, and the opportunity to analyse, information detailing Rugby Australia’s financial position. This has not been provided,” RUPA chief executive Justin Harrison said.
“The Rugby Union Players Association again emphasises the need for an open and collaborative approach from RA before we can properly understand our role in Australian rugby’s restructure, for both short and long term transformation.”
Castle has refuted claims made by Harrison and the association, stating that the documents in question have been provided.
“We believe the information we have shared, including information on future cash projections, provides the players with enough information to develop a position,” Castle said.
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