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Eleven Former Wallabies Captains Call For Immediate Rugby Australia Leadership Overhaul

Eleven of Australia’s former Wallabies captains have co-signed a letter demanding Rugby Australia’s leadership to “stand aside” for the sport’s betterment in Australia.

The Australian revealed the rugby union greats, including Nick Farr-Jones, George Gregan and Phil Kearns, signed the letter which cited “poor administration and leadership” as the primary reason for the recent downfall of Australian rugby.

The former captains stated they hope to see Rugby Australia emerge from the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic “with a renewed sense of unity and purpose,” and believe an immediate leadership chance is the first step to “restore Australian rugby to greatness.”

“As Wallaby captains, we feel privileged to have represented our country and led our respective teams into battle, facing difficult situations together.

In recent times, the Australian game has lost its way.

It is a defeat inflicted not by COVID-19, or an on-field foe, but rather by poor administration and leadership over a number of years.

Our rural clubs, junior clubs, subdistricts and community clubs have been let down, and we firmly believe transformation is needed across the game in this country.

There’s no time to waste.

We speak as one voice when we say Australian rugby needs new vision, leadership and a plan for the future.

That plan must involve, as a priority, urgent steps to create a much-needed sustainable, commercial rugby business.

A number of highly experienced rugby and business leaders are standing by to mentor and lead.

Our youth deserve to be inspired.

They need to see a pathway and to feel a connection with the Wallaby jersey.

It is with this in mind we ask the current administration to heed our call and stand aside to allow the game to be transformed, so we emerge from this pandemic with a renewed sense of unity and purpose.

There is only one question that needs to be answered at club level, at state level and at national level, is this decision in the best interests of Australian rugby?

Only when we can answer that question openly, honestly and transparently at all levels can we restore Australian rugby to greatness,” the letter reads.

Criticism of Rugby Australia has been growing stronger following last month’s Annual General Meeting, where the organisation awarded itself a 72 percent pass mark for last year’s performance, despite announcing a loss of $9.4 million for the year.

Rugby Australia interim chair, Paul McLean, said he had been in contact with a member of the group and offered to arrange a meeting with the full board as soon as was “reasonably practicable.”

“These are respected former Wallabies captains, and the board would value their input as we work through the challenges that rugby has faced over the last few years and that have been amplified by the coronavirus pandemic,” McLean said.

“The board is also prepared to work with the group to provide them access to the information requested in the letter.

“The board had commenced the process of establishing a review group to investigate a whole of rugby review that includes professional rugby, semi-professional rugby, and community rugby.

“The board would welcome the input of the signatories of the letter into the review process.

“Now is the time for us to come together in the interests of the entire rugby community,” he said.

At the forefront of Rugby Australia criticism is CEO, Raelene Castle, who recently said she is still set to accept a $114,000 bonus as a result of Rugby Australia’s self-awarded 72 percent performance for 2019.

This news came after Rugby Australia announced it stood down three quarters of its administrative staff and Castle will take a 65 percent salary cut for the next six months as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.