An Open Letter to Rugby Australia - Green and Gold Rugby
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An Open Letter to Rugby Australia

An Open Letter to Rugby Australia

Hi Raelene, Paul and the rest of the RA team,

It’s Hugh here. I am writing to reiterate some of the messages that were sent to you by 11 former Wallaby skippers last week. Surely you’ve read it, the signatories contain some of our all-time greatest captains – Nick Farr-Jones, George Gregan, Simon Poidevin, Steve Moore, Stirling Mortlock, Nathan Sharpe, Phil Kearns, Michael Lynagh… and then also George Smith, Jason Little and Rod McCall. Hey they can’t all be champions, but they had to get to double figures and John Eales refused to sign.

The message they sent to you was clear. You need to resign, and take the Board with you. Why? Well the game is a mess at all levels and it’s going to take good rugby people to fix it. People like our 11 skippers who have been ignored by the powers-that-be for far too long. They are standing on the outside while you burn our beautiful game from within.

The ultimate outsider

The ultimate outsider

Well except for George Gregan, who was on the ARU Board in 2012 and 2013. And Rod McCall who was on the Board from 2007-2009 and then QRU Chairman for seven years after that.

But apart from those two, the others have all been completely left ou- wait, sorry I missed Nathan Sharpe who was on the QRU Board from 2016-2019 (only got to 4 of 9 meetings in 2019), and Stirling Mortlock who was on the Rebels Board from 2013.

Other than those four, these guys are all outsiders who- ahh sorry I just remembered Nick Farr-Jones, who was Chairman of the NSWRU from 2010-2015. And of course the guys who have been paid big salaries to provide commentary on the game to a massive TV audience: Kearns, Lynagh, Poidevin, Gregan, Sharpe, Mortlock.

But other than all of that, it’s great that we finally get to hear what these legends of the game are thinking. And it’s worth the wait. Now Raelene and team, some of these ideas are a bit left field but the time for playing it safe is over!

Look at this pearl of wisdom: “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.”

That’s right, we need a plan! But not just any plan. One for the future. And it’s got to involve steps to create a sustainable, commercial rugby business. And these steps are URGENT! What are those steps? Well that’s going to be in the plan, isn’t it!

But I hear you ask, who will develop such a plan? Well of course our skippers provided the answer: we need to form a “cabinet”. A group of people from across the rugby world, all coming together to take in information and make decisions in the best interest of the game. Kind of like a Board, but instead of it being a Board it’s a Cabinet. That makes decisions urgently!

How will this Cabinet make decisions? Well it’s simple: “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?”

That’s the question, Raelene. Pretty simple. Is it in the best interests of Australian Rugby. Not the worst interests. And not New Zealand rugby, or English Rugby. Not even Australian Rugby League (an easy mistake to make I grant you since they have such similar names). This is, I think, where you have been going wrong for all these years.

Oh captain, my captain!

Oh captain, my captain!

It’s clear what this game needs is a change of leadership. Blind Freddy could see that the seeds of our demise have been sown in the last two years. When good Aussie rugby men were in charge, we were riding high! Sure we blew our 2003 Rugby World Cup cash reserves chasing League players, and then watched on as SANZAR slowly destroyed Super Rugby while we let our junior talent system break down, but… I forget where I was going but that only helps my point that you need to pack your bags. And take the Board with you! (Except Phil Waugh, he’s a former Wallaby skipper too).

Now you’ve left the game a barren wasteland. I’ll give you the fact that our junior ranks look brighter than ever and we look like we have a great chance at clinching the hosting rights to the 2027 World Cup. But other than that? Well the fact that you’ve assembled a pretty sexy looking Wallaby coaching panel. But that’s just one thing. You’ve done nothing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so that’s a big one in the L column. From memory, John O’Neill had a number of viable SARS vaccines in trial phases back in the mid-2000s but it appears you’ve come up empty. Again.

You left this group of esteemed former captains with no choice but to send you a letter which they then leaked to the News Corp media. You should hang your head in shame.

I can only hope you are currently headed for the exit, with your tail between your legs. If you need to find me I’ll be on the barricades behind the One True Leader of Australian Rugby, Mr Phil Kearns.

Yours in rugby,

 

Hugh Cavill

  • Anonymous bloke

    Great letter.

  • Brumby Jack

    Fantastic stuff!

  • numpty

    Great piece. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so sad. I see Moore signed the letter because he got treated like (checks notes) EVERYONE ELSE during the selection process of the RA Board. He is a former skipper, he should’ve just been given the seat as one of the ‘old boys’. Classic Raelene judging people on merit and not their randwick member status.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      You’re right mate it is so sad to see this sort of crap. I’m getting more and more delusional about the game over here and where it might end up.

      • numpty

        The game, or should I say product is still great. The level of detail and execution in the game is unbelievable at the moment imo. Just need to listen to the right people talking about it.

  • John Tynan

    Top read.
    I thought the (original) letter was a disgrace, and took some people down a peg or two in my eyes.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Brilliant Hugh. The myopic self interest of these people is just staggering. How the hell they get to look in the mirror without feeling shame is beyond me. I just wonder how much of this crap Raelene will take before she says “You know what! Fuck this! I don’t need this crap, I’m out of here!” I’m pretty sure if that happens then Rennie will start having 2nd thoughts about taking the job on and it could get very ugly very fast. What’s the bet if that happens it’ll all be someone else’s fault, not these stalwarts of the game and their continual crybaby moaning about it all.

    • Craig.G

      Well that didn’t take long

  • JJ

    These 11, as former Wallaby captains, have some real credibly and weight. Rugby in Australia needs change and the Covid19 crisis has just bought it to a head.
    But the question being asked in WA, is why were they so quite for the past 3 years?
    I can only recall Sharpe speaking up. And Lynagh has supported and helped the GRR get started.
    Anyway, at least they have spoken out at last.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I’d question as to their credibility in writing this letter. There are many ways they could have tried to help rugby in Australia but this screams to me of self interest not help. Maybe that’s why they didn’t say anything about the West for 3 years, no self interest there to get them what they want.

      • Perth girl

        That must be the same reason that the state unions in NSW and Qld never said anything about what happened in WA but were quite happy to hang us out dry

    • Who?

      Your line as to the question being asked in WA is the most important. The vast majority of those involved have great credibility as rugby players, some also have it in off field endeavours, but none have any credibility in managing the game. Because they’ve been involved in supporting failing administrations that were arguably poorer than the current one.
      .
      What were they doing whilst Cheika was slowly removing all hope of a decent future for the Wallabies..? When the QRU was hiring Woody Graham, and then throughout the rest of the decade of sorrow after the joy of 2011? What were they doing while the Tahs managed to maintain a huge test cap count on the field whilst completely depowering their pack, leaving themselves set up for long term failure? Combine that with the performance of the Rebels over the majority of the decade, and you’ve got a pretty good reason why even die hards are struggling with Super Rugby. When it’s pretty clear that the Rugby IQ on the field is in free fall, being led by a similar free fall in coaching stocks.
      Some will say that’s because the HPU was disassembled when Link took over, but given he left before he planned, I’m not sure it would’ve stayed that way – when he was at the Reds, the IP coming down was great. When he went to the Wallabies, the QRU stopped providing any coaching IP to my region. So I wonder if he didn’t intend to build a new structure, but that didn’t happen when he left, and Cheika and Pulver never considered it?
      .
      The fact they did nothing to turn around the provinces or the Wallabies before now – even though they were all in positions of influence throughout that period – means they have no credibility.

  • Jason

    Was their letter even clear as to what they were calling for? It sounded like they were calling for Castel to go, but not quite saying that. Perhaps they were wanting to have a go at being on the board — but they all already have?

  • Juan_Time

    Brilliant Hugh. I hope Raelene actually reads this, and other balanced commentary questioning the process and timing here (assuming she has time after reading the Aus, Tele and Foxsports websites and Jonesy’s podcast). They say there is no interest like self interest.
    All for these guys bringing any ideas and their presence & profile to support RA, but to publicly white-ant illustrates why we are right to question their motive and desire to help the game. Good move by the board to hear them out – and how they may assist benefit of the game. That doesn’t necessarily involve a change of Leadership and definitely not parachuting one or more of them in.
    Being a former Wallaby captain should neither fastrack nor exclude you for a higher role – the AFL, CA, and NFL, NBA have professional administrators. Love the game, some played, not elite, and have the necessary strong business and/or legal background to do this role.

    • Hoss

      Keep your firends close and your enemies closer

  • formerflanker

    Using satire and mockery to try and diminish the impact of 11 Australian rugby greats speaking as one is one way of avoiding the hard questions.
    Where are the 2019 financial reports?
    Why haven’t accounts dating back to 2019 been paid?
    On what basis did RA award itself a 72% rating for 2019?
    Why would a CEO get a bonus in a loss-making year?
    Why didn’t previous reviews become public knowledge?
    Why has RA allowed schools rugby to diminish so greatly?

    At least Paul McLean has acknowledged the ramifications of the no-confidence letter by inviting the former captains to meet the board.

    • numpty

      Imagine how much easier it would’ve been if they just gave Raelene or Paul a phone call in the first place. Why did they go public if they truly had the good of the game at heart..?

      • LBJ

        This being the first thing you’ve heard of doesn’t make it the first overtures these people have made.

        • numpty

          I obviously don’t know what is going on in private but a few pts make me think you are not correct:
          1) If that were the case, the letter would say something along the lines of ‘we’ve tried repeatedly to contact you…’.
          2) The letter wouldn’t be addressed to RA if they knew the RA was a dead end.
          3) The letter went public before RA were even aware of its existence
          4) If RA were obstructing, why has McLean been so quick and happy to respond and give up what they have asked for…?
          5) Side note: RA board has 2 ex-captains (at least) on it in Waugh and McLean.

    • Perth girl

      Never mind the 2019 financial reports what about the 2017 one

    • Huw Tindall

      OK let’s take it from the top:
      1. Financial reports are on the way. COVID-19 literally fucked the auditors from being able to complete on time.
      2. Accounts are often left on long payment terms or deferred. Maybe take it up with the supplier first before assuming RA is doing something untoward.
      3. It’s in the annual report. I agree the mark sounds generous but some areas they legitimately did well e.g. youth pathways.
      4. Every world cup year is a loss except for the hosts as you miss out on test revenues. This is a well known fact. The loss in 2019 was proportionally less than 2015 so if anything they did a better job than 4 years ago.
      5. Businesses don’t routinely make public sensitive reports. All the people who need to know, knew.
      6. I agree on this one. Schools rugby is lacking backing like grass roots as a whole. Traditionally this was left to the state unions but they could organise the proverbial piss up so RA has to step up. This is a combination of state and national governance structure failings and the sporting equivalent of trickle down economics. We all need to do better here. At least they’ve started with youth pathways. 16 up has got a full on national approach and they are getting results and retaining players rather than losing so many to league after school boys. The general school rugby attention is sh!te. Needs a big revamp and suggest club alignment and interaction will be key. Also the use of 7s to rapidly get out competitions and even poach league kids who can play a 7s comp mid week.

    • While they’re all good questions, none of those are questions the former rugby players address either.

      I would ask, regarding the 2019 financial reports, how quickly after the end of the year they’re normally published. I don’t read them, but in a lot of industries there’s often some lag, so this might not be unusual. It might be though, I don’t know. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in such a situation and it was an organisation that had a turnover of tens of thousands of pounds rather than probably hundreds of millions of dollars. But to produce audited accounts took us 3 months, and a visit from the auditors. At the moment, a visit from the auditors might be awkward to arrange…

      The question about the 72% rating is a good one. The question about the CEO getting a bonus, less good. While I can’t answer the specifics, anyone with half a memory of annual appraisals can answer it. She’d have been given targets to meet, and if she met them, she earns a bonus. A better question is who set those targets and why they didn’t include a “make a surplus” as number 1.

      It’s worth asking about why the previous reviews didn’t become public knowledge and this one did. It might simply be that the board are aiming for better transparency but it might be that Fox suddenly have malicious intent…

      While I certainly have a lot of sympathy about the schools question, I’m not seeing that at the top of the former captains’ questions when they’re banging on about the commercial sustainability of the sport.

      I think you’re raising a fair number of good points. I’m just not convinced your good points are on the agenda of the former captains. What they’ve said seems, to me at least, more worried about how they can keep their snouts in the trough. It’s dressed up in concern for RA, yes, but would all these names be complaining if RA and Fox weren’t parting ways? I really doubt it.

  • ThePhoenix

    Regarding the original letter, to me the most interesting thing is who didn’t sign it – Eales, Mark Ella, Andrew Slack, James Horwill. There are big problems in Australian rugby of course, but surely this public slanging match, seemingly orchestrated by News, is now doing more harm than good.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Yeah I thought that too. There is another intersting article where the group stated that there was no use contacting Eales because he is 100% in agreeance with the RA board and RC.

      • Perth girl

        Well he was on the RA board and so is complicit in what has gone on

        • Brisneyland Local

          Zacchary!

        • numpty

          You say this after having read this article I presume? You must therefore be fully aware that almost every bloke who signed that letter has been in some form of leadership position in Aus rugby over the last decade… Clearly not one for irony.

        • Perth girl

          He was on the RA board until fairly recently, not just on a State board. He should take his share of responsibility. I say this not just after having read this article but from emails and a phone call with him a few years ago

        • numpty

          Maybe that’s why he isn’t carrying on like a goose… If only the other 11 who have also sat on various board and been in positions of power had the same self awareness. There are also 3 ex WBs currently on the board. So clearly ex players are listened to and get a big say in the running of the sport.

  • Hoss

    What interesting times in what we live.

    Firstly HC, great serving. Lashes of irony followed by an after dinner mint stewed nicely in a mellowed, reduced, sauce of sarcasm – bravo.

    Life as we currently know it is a study in leadership. A study of emotional intelligence, in self awareness, self regulation and in leading through effective responses. From a helicopter view we are sure as shit lucky we live in Oz or in a close second, the sheep-shaggers outcrop across the ditch. When the history is written on Beer Flu 19, the ink will skew favourably towards both leaders and rightfully so.

    Which brings me nicely to ‘leadership’ and the ‘Wallaby Skipper 11′ or as history will judge ‘Nick’s Disciples’. Thank you for so clearly spelling out the issues the very administration you seek to topple have articulated and the steps they were and are taking to address. Its so refreshing to have people point out issues and offer not one skeric of a plan to address, other than ‘a plan is needed’ – wow, really ? That from ‘commercial titans’, minds from the legal practises. As i say to senior managers of my team ‘dont bring me problems, bring me solutions’. If i needed people just to point out problems as their main role we would have a large & attractive Swedish backpacker contingent on payroll – not the current crop. Nearly all the members of your treasonous group have (as HC points out) had self-interested fingers in pies at various stages for some time. All of you have blood on your hands to a degree for situations past and those that present today. None of you did anything to alter / improve where we are today, you all contributed to a degree. But now, you throw hand grenades from the cheap seats when what the code needs is unity, leadership and a blueprint for what the game looks like on the other side.

    I would suggest you cant see the trees Wallaby 11 as a van with ‘Self Interest’ slathered all over the sides is parked in front of the forest.

    As a well known Jewish backpacker reportedly said after a great feed one nite ‘ Judas how bout you pay the tab and fuck off – you’re no use to me at all’.

    • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

      With apologies to EG Whitlam c.1975, I prefer to refer to this Captains’ Cabal as “Kearns’s Currs”.

    • Brumby Runner

      One of their main complaints is that the Wallabies have slipped to 7th in world rankings. Not a murmer from any of them that I can recall when that incompetent coach, Cheika, was the driving force behind that slippage. But now, it is apparently all Raelene’s fault.

      • Hoss

        Yep. A coach she inherited, accommodated, resourced, ultimately curtailed and one would argue pushed to replace with a coach widely considered to be the best available. In terms of outcomes’ directly caused by RC, IMO I give her the official Ponderosa ranking of ‘done good’.

        I don’t understand how all blame for events in perpetuity and for the current predicament lay with a newish CEO, new chair, new board members. The good ship ‘Financial Cluster Fuck’ sailed long before the above boarded. One could reasonably argue that said ship now has a firmer rudder, a sober captain and more transparent navigation maps in use and whilst the waters are choppy, the horizon is now in view. And besides as I tried to do many times myself during the 80’s perhaps RA should ‘pull a Virgin’. Voluntary administration, wipe the slate clean and perhaps a little email offer of a ‘fire sale’ to one certain far-western NSW iron ore magnet who doesn’t mind a savvy purchase or for that matter is on record as stating he enjoyed his previous dealings with one Raelene Castle. Hello RA 2.0 and welcome back Western Force, where the fuck have you been…..

        • laurence king

          Would you consider the job of publcity officer for RA Hoss?

        • Hoss

          As long as I had my own cubicle and at no stage confined by having to use facts in any release and i could continue to use colourful metaphors, then yes. The $750 / week would be enticing as well.

        • laurence king

          Colourful metaphors would be a requirement lol

        • Hoss

          ‘At the moment our beloved code is like a dog returning to its own vomit’ – you mean that type of thing…….

        • Yowie

          Haha, you would have ex-Captains signing petitions for you to go easier on RA by the end of your first week of putting out press releases.

        • Hoss

          Mate, i currently have no enemies, but i am intensely disliked by my friends.

        • Yowie

          I mean your friends have gotten to know you, which sounds like bias and/or a conflict of interest now that I think about it. They should abstain from having an opinion.

        • laurence king

          Sadly, that appears to be the truth of it. No I was thinking something a little more upbeat, humorous with a hint of naughtiness and suggestion of having been composed under the influence of strong drink.

        • Hoss

          So no pressure then ? Would you like fries with that as well?

        • laurence king

          You can do that?

    • Yowie

      What now?

      I got distracted at “large & attractive Swedish backpacker contingent on payroll”

  • OlderIGet

    If the Club Presidents had written a letter I would have read it. Those that do it for NO money are the ones who truly love rugby. The millionaire Former Captains are mostly captive of commercial interests. That is why they said “much-needed sustainable, commercial rugby business.” For them it is about commerce. For the Club Presidents it is about community, mateship, family and the contest. And a few beers with a bloody good laugh at the prop who scored a try on the wing and the five-eight that actually made a tackle.

  • Brisneyland Local

    HC, great read. Some say sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. But alas when you are like me, a half-wit, I find it greatly ammusing.
    Alas this is now a shit fight of ocean going variety. I think this has definitely escalated the fight.
    To be honest I think that as the Joker said in the Batman movie:
    “This place needs an enema!”
    Time the RA board went, time that Fox went, time that these 11 Captains went.
    Hand the keys to Twiggy, and let him ressurect the shit fight we are now in.
    No one here is blameless. They have all been stupid in one way or another.

    • Perth girl

      Every time someone on a rugby site says let Twiggy run the game I really do feel like saying f. off. Why should he come and rescue Eastern States rugby from a mess of its own making. He offered money once and was turned down. He has other things on his mind now!

      • Perth girl

        However BL I do agree that the Board should go, it should have gone when Clyne and Pulver were in charge but NSW and Qld wanted the status quo as it didn’t affect them. However unless the Board composition is restructured so it represents the whole of Australia it would be a waste of time.

      • Who?

        Totally get that, but that’s not how many of us would see it. I’d see it as Twiggy taking control, expanding his operations, rather than bailing out the existing people. The existing people – and hopefully many of those structures – would need to go.

        • Perth girl

          It funny how everyone loves Twiggy now but years ago didn’t want to know him or WA rugby but hung us out to dry. It’s funny how things change!

        • Who?

          Some of us were always with you, PG. :-)

      • AllyOz2

        I agree. I would rather see GRR grow as a concept of its own. It will be harder now in the current climate and travel restrictions around Asia but I think that organisation has been set up right from the start and I am keen to see it prove its system without having to bear the burden of saving the rest of the Australian Rugby community. GRR required its member clubs to grow the grass roots community game and their vision statement includes the following:

        We focus on community – formed from rugby culture/values, we provide grass-roots
        community development, family involvement and participation in sport.

        Rugby Australia, at least since the Arbib review and the restructuring of the board has become increasingly disconnected with its grassroots and hasn’t supported the community game. So it shouldn’t be included in GRR until it shows it commitment to do so. Our eastern We focus on community – formed from rugby culture/values, we provide grass-roots
        community development, family involvement and participation in sport.

        Our eastern professional system could do a lot to improve its game if it used GRR as a model for the future of the game – it won’t help if it just seeks a bailout from Twiggy.

      • Brisneyland Local

        PG, I only say that not from a East / West issue. But from the fact that I used to work directly for Twiggy. I know him. I rate him. And I would love him to run this organisation.

    • Nutta

      I upp’d you for simply the first line. Leaving the rest of it aside, the opening salvo was worth it alone.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Thanks old boy!

  • lu99ke

    Bravo Hugo my boy…

    When people ask me what I think … I will just #thislink and say “what he said”

    The most ironic thing about all this is the supposed cohort of die-hard Aussie skippers who just want what’s best for the game think that is Phil Kearns CEO?

    This is the guy that racially vilified all Irish people on international TV with a horrendous accent and some gobbletygook about potatoes.

    The same guy that somehow holds on to a job at Fox whilst the punt Nick McArdle …. Amazing.

    • Who?

      What I don’t get is how other people don’t seem to see Kearns’ statement as being racist. Or the irony in it, given Kearns is an Irish surname, as is Horan…

  • LBJ

    Are you in high school…?
    |
    I cant think of any other excuse for something this juvenile…
    |
    Unfortunately, the captain’s letter represents the view of pretty much everyone I’m aware of in the rugby community – i’m no-one, but I’ve been involved in rugby for ~30 years, and that amounts to a reasonable sample set (i’m not suggesting other perspectives don’t exist and aren’t valid of course).
    |
    All these questions are for the CEO to defend, not this Rugby leadership group to proffer:
    – What is your Vision and Strategy and why will it succeed? (please don’t point to Pulver’s 2015 strategy)
    – How will you create a sustainable commercial model for the game?
    – How will your leadership bring Australian rugby together in a way it clearly has not over the past four years?
    |
    There are many questions of course – but what is evident in your response is that there are a number of people who are more interested in creating some kind of class-warfare than working toward a prosperous future for the game.
    |
    We can an should debate what the best future of the game should look like, but this kind of juvenile character assassination of respected and accomplished Rugby people has no place in the debate.

  • AllyOz

    Don’t agree with much of what you wrote to be honest Hugh, I support the general thrust of what the 11 captains had in their letter and the calls elsewhere from a complete overhaul of the game. I don’t blame RC for all of the pressures that the game is under but I don’t believe the current executive team and the CEO have what is required to rebuild the game and I think the current board structure, the way board members are elected/appointed and the key focuses of the board since at least 2010 and particularly since 2015 aren’t what is required to grow or even save the game. One key point that Nick Farr-Jones has made (and a number of others) is that the RA board and the executive is almost exclusively focused on the elite levels – it is being run as a Wallabies Club or franchise rather than a national sport with the Wallabies as one of many important outcomes. (yes there have been some other achievements around womens rugby and 7s but these are again focused on the elite end). From my point of view

    Also many of these blokes that have signed this have made huge contributions to rugby in Australia as players and administrations. Your letter seeks to belittle those contributions and make a joke of them. These blokes have spoken up (many have been speaking for a long time) because they want to see the game they love grow, the same as you and I do. Yes they were on boards but a number of them became frustrated with the inaction and the direction they were taking. I am not part of the rugby establishment, i came to the game through a different route, but I don’t see any value in discounting the opinions of blokes who have given a great deal to the game simply because you judge them to be old school tie. Get over the chip on your shoulder, we are all in this together.

    • RedAnt

      Look, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that there aren’t problems in rugby in Australia. There are many. But the thing is, the cause of a great many of those problems is ‘politics’ – inter-state politics, inter-club politics, ego-based politics and good old fashioned people-seeking-more-power politics. Unfortunately, this letter from the 11 former captains is just more of it.

      In truth, Raelene Castle inherited an awful lot of shit and she’s dealt with a lot of it – sometimes poorly, but mostly very well. She has had to try and ‘get the house in order’ before getting too carried away with long-term planning. Clearly there are still issues and, most likely, still board members who aren’t doing a great job. But, as they say in the classics, Rome wasn’t built in a day. You can’t just clear out the board, raze the building and start from scratch. (Well you can, but I’m guessing that might not work out so well.) If any or all former captains have ideas for the game, fantastic, let’s hear them. And then apply the same levels of good governance to those ideas that they seem to be saying are absent.

  • Patrick

    I admired a lot of these guys on the rugby field so it’s a real shame to lose so much respect for them in one short read.

    • LBJ

      You’ve lost respect for them because they think the game needs new leadership?

      • John Tynan

        Only speaking for myself, it’s the platform they’ve chosen for raising it, and essentially most of them being tainted by prior opportunity to be agents of change and make their chosen silver bullet happen in various parts of professional rugby in Australia post their playing careers. What’s changed since they had their crack from the gravy train?
        I’m yet to have explained to me what Raelene Castle’s leadership has overwhelmingly failed to deliver, particularly with the hand she picked up when she sat at the card table.

        • LBJ

          Fair enough on the public platform, but I suspect this is not a first attempt to create change.
          |
          As far as Castle is concerned, I’m of the opinion that shes obliged to deliver a strategy for the game and funding to realise the strategy (like all CEO’s).
          |
          I’m very open to being convinced – but currently neither of these things are in place.

        • John Tynan

          Admittedly I’m not massively endowed in the boardroom department, but while both a stakeholder and major contributor to the formulation, isn’t the CEO executing the board’s strategy?

        • LBJ

          I’ve got a bit of experience, but not a master…there are various models, but widely accepted best practice for large firms (very different from small organisations) supports separation between governing and executive branches.
          |
          In that model – its vitally important to keep separation between the governing body (Chair & board) and the executive branch (CEO, COO etc) – the board is then in turn be accountable to the shareholders.
          |
          The CEO develops and then recommends the strategy to the board along with metrics to measure its performance (not in a vacuum, but applying their expertise in the field). The board adopt it formally and monitor performance against said metrics.
          |
          It then becomes the Board’s strategy – but there has to remain separation between the board and those charged with executing the strategy – otherwise the strategy can’t be judged objectively.
          |
          If the strategy is not performing against target = problem = review & tweak or change strategy (and those responsible for it – CEO & Chair usually).
          |
          Which is why there is such an enormous problem with not having a live strategy in place – how do you measure the performance? Eg. they gave themselves 75% rating – but against what?!
          |
          One of the key issues in rugby is that the last piece (shareholder accountability) is not in place. So we all sit here outraged because we have a stake in the outcome, but no ability to influence the direction.

  • paul

    Rugby really is f_____d in this country.

    I do wonder what the response would be if 11 ex All Black captains penned a letter like that.
    But no in Australia, they are just a bunch of self serving w___rs.

    What the f__k does that say about the game here. The irony of that is well beyond me.

    I have loved this game since someone chucked me an over-sized jersey as a skinny 8 yr old.

    But i’m done, the best news I’ve heard today is the NRL maybe back late May,

    • LBJ

      Good analogy – I am far more suspicious of the motives of G&GR commentators than I am of these 11 Aussie rugby greats.

      • Who?

        I think the 11 Captains have taken far more from the game than G&GR’s contributors have. Most of G&GR’s contributors are long term club contributors, in it purely for the love of the game. Mr Cavill – and I’ve got a long history of not always agreeing with him – has been around here for years, and I’d wager he’s made less off it financially over the decade plus of his involvement than a current Wallaby makes on a losing game day.
        .
        You can disagree with their viewpoints, but G&GR’s a fan site. It’s powered by engagement with the Rugby community, and isn’t a financial powerhouse. Whereas most of the 11 captains have serious vested interests. Several of them have been paid employees of the broadcaster currently grumpy with the RA administration that’s trying to cut 65% out of the yearly rights contract. And, as pointed out, most of them have been in positions of power where they could’ve made the adjustments they now claim are needed. With the respect garnered through their playing careers. Yet they did nothing. And here, they’ve put out a call to remove a leadership team, basically without putting forward a clear alternative agenda.
        .
        And being a great player doesn’t make you great at anything else. George Smith’s played two decades at the top – what’s he done in sports admin? Just as not being great players doesn’t mean we don’t have valid opinions or a right to them (even when we differ).

        • LBJ

          TBH, G&GR has broadly devolved into a conspiracy theory site.
          |
          The conspiracy is a bit of a moving feast, but it broadly revolves around an evil cabal of North Shore (or is it Eastern Suburbs?) Sydney based Shute Shield Loving, Private School Millionaires who have devoted their lives to feasting on the carcass that is the game of Rugby until is no longer exists. Oh, and Fox as well – Fox are evil too (except for their money – they love their money, its just that it should be given without obligation).
          |
          Which is all fine – whatever floats your boat I guess – I can see the attraction of this sort of pseudo class-warfare and Peter Pan economics (it seems quite popular right now)
          |
          The problem in this scenario – is that all the questions are targeted at the 11 Captains (most of whom are inconveniently not from Sydney), and there’s nothing but apologies for the incumbent.
          |
          That’s right, demand answers from the 11 Rugby Greats, but not from the CEO?!
          |
          Of course – FOX is the sole broadcaster of the professional game – so ignoring the opinion of everyone who has worked there eliminates everyone who’s commented on the game for 25 years – that’s a great way to silence critics.
          |
          So if Kearns turns up tomorrow with a broadcast deal, $ to fund the game’s Grassroots and a pathway to bring the Force back into the fold – what should the board do? They have a fiduciary duty to uphold. And how will G&GR react.
          |
          There are many calls on here to ‘Unite’, will those unity calls continue if Kearns is appointed CEO? or is unity only applicable for the conspiracy position?
          |
          Yes, i’m clear on what Fox and the 11 Captains want and how that could come together for the good of the game. And I am suspicious of what the G&GR twiterati wants – and that they are willing to burn the game down to ensure the Mythical evil creature doesn’t win.
          |
          A bit melodramatic i guess, but you get my drift, yes?

        • Who?

          You’ve missed my point, though, LBJ. My point was that Hugh’s a Shute Shield loving Sydney boy. So to complain that he’s raising conspiracy theories…
          .
          If there were clear reasons as to why this particular group is doing things – and doing them now – then perhaps it would be more worthy of consideration. Because there’s obviously problems in Australian Rugby. But where were these guys last year, when Cheika was there, leading us to certain ignominy? Where were they in 2017, when Clyne was pushing Pulver into shrinking to greatness? Where were they in 2014, when the board allowed themed year power plays that ultimately ousted the head coach? Hang on, I know where two of them were…
          McCall’s claim to fame – he’d hired Richard Graham, and then he re-hired Richard Graham (head of the QRU). Farr Jones was on the way to hiring Gibson (head of the NSWRU).
          The point being made by Hugh (who I suspect is not just Sydney-based, but from the north shore!) is that these guys have largely already been inside the system and influencing decisions they’re now criticising. That they’re not blameless for the position we’re in now.
          There’s a few who aren’t as directly responsible. Lynagh – still on the Fox payroll (well, Sky), but then, given he lives in London, what does he know about what’s happening here? Similarly, George Smith – played here a couple of years recently, but he’s a player, has no experience in administration, and hasn’t been around (he went back to Japan). The rest, generally…..
          .
          In terms of answers from the existing board and CEO, I think it’s fair to ask fair questions of them. You don’t ask why we didn’t win the RWC last year – especially when she knew the last coach wasn’t up to the job and canvassed the possibility of replacing him. You don’t blame her for the current format of Super Rugby, when that was negotiated by Pulver and Clyne. And which has – off the back of the crazy conference system introduced in Super 18 (conference systems don’t have to be crazy, but that one was – 4 unequal conferences?! Crazy stuff) – seen Super Rugby further slide. And she can’t be blamed for the performance of the Super Teams, given they’re not run by RA.
          There’s areas where Castle’s done well, areas which could be debated (including the obvious, the Folau case, where no one will ever agree – though, given no one’s happy with the outcome, perhaps it wasn’t handled terribly?), areas where she’s got significant room for improvement. But there’s also a lot of hangover and the legacy of being stuck in Clyne’s control.
          .
          Fox is the current rights holder which was demanding that RA accept a 65% cut in the rights contract. They want to retain Rugby. But, at present, they’re strengthening their negotiating position by devaluing the brand. Their employees may say they love Rugby, but they also like getting paid to watch Rugby.
          .
          Kearns won’t turn up with a good broadcast deal (note – I specified ‘good’). There’s no one out there with money. I don’t see any reason to think he values the Force. They wear Blue, but it’s the wrong blue. I don’t see that he’s coming from a position of understanding the international game or having any capacity for diplomacy and statesmanship working with our SANZAAR partners – not after his countless faux pas, including, last year, constantly whinging that the Jaguares were ‘the Argentine Test team!’ When they weren’t (they still had players coming home from overseas), and, it’s worth noting, for the first time since 2003, they failed to get out of their pool at the RWC. So its not like they were a top Test team in quality. But do you think he’s got any chance of working well with Argentina, or anyone else?
          .
          In terms of calls to unite, I think we’ve seen through the history of Australian politics over the past decade how things go when people don’t unite. Castle wasn’t appointed as anyone’s favourite. She wasn’t mine. I didn’t see her as a poor appointment, but she wasn’t appointed by ‘my party’, or anything like that. She’s an outsider who’s been brought in as an administrator, not as a factional player, as most appointments tend to be (be they appointments to the board or other roles).
          What these people are doing is trying to split the Rugby community in their own attempt to gain power. I’m happy for people to be able to contest board appointments (I wish it were easier), I’m happy for people to apply for job vacancies. But here we have people who’ve been in power, who’ve made questionable appointments, now sitting outside throwing stones. That doesn’t build unity.
          They’re like the noisy wags in the US carrying guns and Confederate flags (i.e. the flags of traitors) to protest outside Democratic gubernatorial mansions proclaiming tyrannical Democratic governors and whinging that the country should re-open (in spite of positive test rates showing the US still has no idea about the scale of the Covid 19 outbreak – and there continuing to be a shortage of tests and testing), whilst the Democratic governors are basically following Trump’s program for public health (i.e. whilst the rhetoric from Republican politicians – primarily Trump – is political, the actions of both parties aren’t notably dissimilar – the White House’s policies aren’t bad, though the implementation could be better). It shows the issue isn’t one of policy (even though there’s clear reasons to want to re-open – it’s definitely hurting people financially), it’s purely one of power. It’s the wrong colour governor in the mansion, and it’s not the captains and their mates sitting on the RA board (though there’s no guarantee they’d do much differently or better).
          These agitators are effectively the Ruddniks post 2010, the Abbott men post 2016. Their guy didn’t get the job, they’re not happy, they don’t have the numbers in power to change it (which isn’t to say what the feeling in the broader community is, it’s just to reflect on those who can make the call at that moment – clearly Rudd had the popular support outside the party, I don’t think Abbott ever did), and they’re doing what they can to undermine the people they don’t like.
          .
          All Fox wants – given they’ve (Foxtel) borrowed $500 Million in the last year – is to get RA for the absolute lowest possible figure. The way they’ve run the rights deal, with their newspapers and broadcasting, they’ve lost the majority of the power they had over the current administration. Because they went very hard (understandably – they’re broke!), and, also considering the proceedings against Harold Mitchell over his Tennis rights deal, RA decided they had to look elsewhere. How could Castle accept a cut of 65% on the rights?! I’m not sure if it were you or Paul, but one of you said that losing a single cent in the rights deal (that failing to increase in income) would be a sackable offence. But even better than that, Fox have managed to effectively frame it such that Castle’s a failure for not taking $20 Million. But if Kearns could say, “Here’s $25 Million from Fox Sport!” They’ll paint him as a hero. And he would be – for Fox. Because he’d have provided RA with a deal, even though it’s still a 56% from the current deal. So it’s not a good broadcast deal – not remotely.
          .
          And Kearns could say, “I’ve got a plan to fund the game’s grassroots,” but given he and his mates have been in positions of influence if not outright power for the past decade, is there any reason to believe that? Especially given any rights deal will most certainly be lower than the current deal, which wasn’t sufficient to fund the grassroots?
          .
          You can call G&GR writers and commenters ‘Twitterati’, but the reality is we don’t have any financial interests in this, we don’t have any power to gain, and so there’s less reason to be suspicious of anyone on here than there is of people who have power, who had power, and companies with significant cash involved.

        • Nutta

          I largely agree with your post. And even if for no other reason than the last paragraph especially I’ll give you a up. Always ask Qui Bono.

        • LBJ

          Or in other words:
          |
          YES, G&GR is now all about the conspiracy theory.
          |
          And NO – Unity is only relevant when people are of the same opinion as you.
          |
          Which for what its worth is what Abbot was all about. After 20 years of being an aggressive pri*k, he finally got into power and then called for unity and then he got more and more angry and confused when he reaped what he had been sewing.
          |
          And to remove any confusion – that is my assessment of what you and most here on G&GR are now doing – sewing spite and resentment.
          |
          Eg: Your characterisation of this group of people as TRAITORS (?!) and comparing them to gun-toting fruitcakes in the US preventing people from getting medical aid is quite frankly disgusting and you should be ashamed.
          |
          We can disagree on many things, but these are good rugby people who have earned our respect.
          |
          What you seem to miss in all of this is that you (collectively) are the Donald Trump in this scenario – you are the ones tearing people to pieces and slinging mud because they have a different perspective – you are the one hurling insults.
          |
          Thankfully I know you don’t represent the culture in rugby, which is one of respect, integrity and discipline.
          ||
          As far as rational debate is concerned – the question for the board is clear – from where we are now, with no broadcast deal and no strategy for the game in place – what is the best path froward.
          – if the best path forward is to continue with Fox, then clearly Kearns is a good candidate.
          – if the best path forward is with Optus (or others), perhaps Castle should be persisted with.

        • Who?

          In other words…
          .
          G&GR’s only looking at where the money is. Motivation’s key to everything. To ignore that is naïve at best. It’s far less conspiratorial than the endless whispers put out in the Murdoch press.
          .
          Unity isn’t built when a noisy minority (Wallaby captains are a minority) who have lost power decide to throw stones. There was a sense that we were facing renewal starting the year. New Wallabies coach. New RA chair shortly. Squads looking ok (despite the usual post RWC exodus). But the same group of angry people who feel as though they no longer have power have continued to throw stones. They are Abbott.
          .
          I never once described the 11 Wallaby captains as traitors, I pointed out the American protesters carry the flag of traitors. They believe they’re being patriotic in their protest. I pointed out the hypocrisy in their claimed patriotism.
          You may consider me to be Trump. I’d argue my use of the English language is slightly above his level. My point, though, about the gun-toting fools was that they were protesting a regime that was doing exactly what those they support would do. Again, you completely missed it.
          .
          I’ve argued for change for years. But this argument for change from people who don’t have a good history as administrators and who have been part of the system they now say is wrong.
          .
          Further, whilst I’ve argued for change for years, I try to give people a fair go. Has Castle been given a fair go? Are the charges against her fair and accurate? How is the Wallabies’ progress in 2018/19 her fault? How is the trajectory of Super Rugby her responsibility? She’s not had any input into the structures or decisions around those items, so to use them to judge her effectiveness is unfair. It’s like saying it’s Trump’s fault that Covid 19 exists (instead of saying he should’ve done more in March).
          People from the same group are making disparaging remarks about Rennie. Why? What’s the bloke done? We gave Deans a fair go, we gave Link a fair go, we gave Cheik a fair go. Who’s the better candidate? Or are we just being parochial (or even xenophobic)?
          .
          I agree that those 11 captains were exceptional players with great on field ability. I don’t think they’re doing anything other than what they think is best. I think that of (almost) all people who put themselves forward for leadership (until proven otherwise by actions showing questionable character. If the actions show questionable judgment or ability, that doesn’t besmirch their character). It’s not that long ago that Guiliani claimed that any action is in the public interest, because candidates think that their re-election is in the public interest. But a person thinking “I’m brilliant!” doesn’t make that belief objectively true, and these 11 captains putting forward this letter in what appears to be nothing more than an attempt to bring down people they don’t like in a system they’ve helped establish and long been inside doesn’t prove that they’re thinking about what’s objectively best. Not being objective doesn’t make you a bad person
          .
          At least half the issue here is timing. Why didn’t these guys find fault before? Why was it ok when the Force were being dropped? Was it because they liked Bill? Why was it ok for the Wallabies to be terrible in the lead up to the RWC, when they were all supporting Cheika? Most of these guys aren’t Alan Jones (I disagree on some points with Jones, agree on a good number, and he’s been consistent for at least three years about most of these points, though I disagree on him over Castle, because I think that for the most part he’s not judging her on her own actions). If there was any consistency in their complaint, and if it didn’t appear they were just backing up their fellow captain who happened to miss out on a job to a more qualified candidate, their argument would have a lot more weight.
          .
          In terms of the ‘rational debate’ option you’re flagging, part of the issue there is that the board is quite clear in its position. They’re behind Castle, come what may. And those who are backing Kearns have also been tied to wanting to overthrow the board. So the board won’t follow your ‘rational debate’ option, because that would mean backing someone they chose not to pick, and who wants to see them all turfed out along with Castle.
          Beyond that, whoever the CEO is, they’ll work out the best broadcast deal. I don’t envisage that Kearns will bring a better deal than Castle, I don’t see that change will do anything other than weaken Rugby’s bargaining power.

        • Brumby Runner

          LBJ, are you suggesting we should all put aside our sewing and take up knitting while Madam Guiilotine removes the head of the diabilical creature that RA has become? Maybe I’ll just go and sow a few seeds in the garden so I have something to reap come harvest time.

        • AllyOz2

          I agree LBJ. G&GR used to have a point of difference for instance to the Roar but I see little difference these days – except that Roar have some professional journalists.

          What I find a little strange is that a lot of the people raised similar comments to you (not in this post) critical of the game when it was Pulver and Clyne in charge of the game. While RC is not IMO the source of all failure in the game there has been limited improvement (again IMO) since she started in the CEO position, in fact, a lot of the key KPI’s have deteriorated – crowd numbers, tv ratings, super rugby performance (financial and on-field),

          There are a lot of people on this site who seem to have a chip on their shoulder around GPS schools system and SS/Hospitals cup – this is what they called the leather patch club or the old guard. They see RC as an outsider looking to break down the vested interested of the old system. But they ignore that, while these groups have their limitations

          Fox seem to have made the error of basing their offer on their own commercial considerations and what they can make from the product they buy rather than recognising Rugby Australia as a charitable organisation that should be given excess funds that they can spend at their own discretion. (though I would concede that some of the commentary in the press has been vitriolic but some of the commentators have no connection to Fox – even PFS concedes rugby has lost touch with the grassroots).

          This will probably be my last comment on G&GR for a while. The daily news has always just been a rehash of rugby.com.au and I haven’t got much out of the last few editorials or opinion pieces. They aren’t particularly well reasoned articles or commentary pieces – largely emotive responses with limited solutions offered that hypocritically criticise others for not offering solutions. So enjoy yourselves but I have got a bit tired of the offering so I’ll see ya’s later.

        • LBJ

          Cheers – i cant disagree with anything you say.
          See you on the other side.

        • RugbyReg

          Don’t go! DON’T GOOOOOOO!!!!!!

          Ahh who am I kidding. Good riddance.

        • AllyOz2

          On re-reading some of my comments I wish to offer an apology to the writers and contributors of G&GR, particularly those who, over time, have put together the daily rugby news. While I, at times , disagree with the opinion pieces and the slant of the news etc, that does not give me the right to slag off the quality of what is written or to fail to acknowledge the undoubted effort it takes to put together news on a daily basis or to take time to sit and write a 2,000 word article. So, again sorry.

          This is the only social media I really engage with, largely because I just don’t like social media on the whole. For the last couple of years this, for me, offered a point of difference and it no longer does. I am clearly not very good at engaging with it and I find that I come across as a very different person to what I am in reality sometimes. So don’t worry Reg and Hugh, I won’t be back even after this apology…at least not until I learn how to play nice with the other kids. Given that I have had a very strong association with one of the clubs that Reg is involved with I probably know of or have met you at some stage. If you are associated with that club then you are undoubtedly a great person, they all are, without exception.

          My rather graceless final paragraph above was in distinct contrast to the comments by Raelene Castle when she resigned last night. She has displayed immense grace, integrity, humility and fortitude in her response to losing her position and, if you haven’t had the chance to read it in full I would highly recommend it. I have said a couple of times here, that I don’t blame her for all that has happened to Australian rugby but I don’t think she, or the current way the game is structured, have the answers to the challenges we face – I think the game needs to be completely overhauled – but that doesn’t mean I think that changing the CEO and the make-up of the current board will do anything to achieve that – the issues run deeper than that and the . I also disagreed with a couple of the key decisions that she made over the past 2.5 years (though the main issue was around something of Bill Pulvers making that she then had to prosecute). I don’t think I have been more critical of her than I was of Bill Pulver or Cameron Clyne (I probably gave Cheika an easier run than most people on here) but, sitting here now I am not sure why I have the right to be critical of any of them. As someone who once put a lot of time into a number of clubs (because I liked doing it) I now have little direct involvement in the game. So I think I probably lack the social licence to comment at all.

          It would be hypocritical of me to now say I thought she did a terrific job in my eyes. But I do think she has put her heart and soul into this and tried her very best. I have been in jobs where I have tried my very best and still been inadequate – not just in the eyes of others as might be the case for RC – but genuinely not had what it takes. I know what that feels like and I don’t know that I could ever display the sort of personal integrity that she has on losing her position after being asked to perform under the level of stress that she has over the past 12-18 months at least. So, while I think this at least gives the game an opportunity to reset (one I hope that it will take though I suspect it probably won’t) I have an enormous amount of admiration for this lady for the way she has responded to this situation. It was her comments that made me rethink my own contribution yesterday.

          I hope you all get a chance to enjoy your rugby soon and that you have something else to talk about other than administrative changes in rugby.

          I will end, hypocritically, using the words John Laws uses at the end of each show after blasting the sh*t out of half his callers. It seems rather fitting on this occasion.

          You be kind to each other.

          God Bless

        • Hoss

          Real dignity and class Oz and what i have come to expect from your posts.

          I would be personally bitterly disappointed to lose your contribution from these pages.Your offerings are always respectful, insightful, balanced and fun and i have enjoyed your stories of your playing days and our, at times, opposing views on issues.

          Many of us lost skin over the Dusty saga last year and i note the absence of many ‘regulars’ missing from this years forums.which, whilst i at times completely disagreed with their stance i respected they had a different view.

          I would ask you to reconsider your proposed hiatus from GAGR, we are all richer with you on here, but i will respect your position. However i will be first to welcome you back to these hallowed pages.

          Stay safe, stay sane and see you on here again soon.

          Hoss

    • Brisneyland Local

      Paul, to be honest. I dont think 11 ex-All Blacks skippers would do that. The AB’s and the Kiwi’s really seem to keep their dirty linen hidden better. They do things behind closed doors.

      • Human

        Is your last sentence a dig at a well known AB #9 with a questionable grasp of the Legal vernacular? If so, well played, sir.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Glad you noticed. It is actually both. A serious statement and a dig. I am a double edged sword! ;-)

  • Dan Ryan

    Success breds success…put simply. No one on the board missed a tackle, failed to convert a sideline conversion or dropped a pass under pressure to lose a game…whilst we’re burning the board, don’t take the blow torches off our players who failed to attract crowds, win games or signal a change to Bledisloe Cup results. When what happens off the field draws all the attention you need to ask why? I agree the Board needs to go, grassroots need further support & junior’s further development, but until you start winning on the field the fans, tv audiences & parents/kids will look elsewhere in a crowded entertainment field…because at the end of the day, Rugby is entertainment not drama…

    • Who?

      Your point is relevant, but misses a deeper truth. That pretty well all of those 11 captains were in positions where they had the power to influence coaching selections and development pathways. Over the past decade, for the most part, our coaching development has been appalling, our coaches have been appalling and deteriorating almost every year (last year and this year, we have only one Australian Super Rugby head coach – McKellar), and that’s seen the on-field talent not develop as they should have done.
      If your coaches are clueless, underperforming, and the pathway for replacement coaches hasn’t equipped the next generation, then the boards need to be questioned. And these guys have had serious input on those boards.
      .
      The off field failings (particularly financially) are significantly created by on field failings, but those on field failings were created and permitted by further off field failings (terrible coaching appointments).

  • idiot savant

    CV 19 is an opportunity for some. Corporate raiders are circling firms who have good products but too much debt. Some will do very nicely out of Virgin Air thanks very much.

    And so it is with sport. The Nine network moved on the NRL’s CEO. Now is a great time to kick someone when they’re down. Its also the time for value investment.

    For months now, a cabal of mostly Sydney based privileged wealthy ex private school boys with a delusional sense of their own importance have been mounting a campaign to take over the reins of Rugby Australia. With the backing of News Ltd and Fox Sports and spurred on by the fulminating Alan Jones, they have humiliated past great servants like Dick Marks, made a mockery of some journalist’s ethics, and spread rumour, innuendo, and fake news around about Raelene Castle and the RA board like confetti.

    At stake is the spoils of future rugby revenue. While the fundamentals look poor at the moment, the longer term analysis has potential gains. Junior pathways have been rebuilt leading to the best outcome in a decade for the junior Wallabies, some of whom are showing great promise in Super Rugby. Australian super rugby sides are beating kiwi sides again. The cluster**** of the last Wallabies coaching regime (supported by most of the 11 captains), leading to the biggest losing record for 50 years, is behind us. The potential carnage a right wing Christian fundamentalist could have caused to future sponsorship millions has been settled. Opportunities exist to reinvent franchise rugby as the SANZAR competition terms approach renewal. A WA billionaire is prepared to put his money where his mouth is to grow the game in the Asia Pacific. And the door has opened for Australia to make a bid for the 2027 World Cup, a money spinner for the host broadcaster.

    Some might say the hard work has been done. And the takeover target is on its knees. Perfect time for people who never offered any solutions to the problems above when needed, to take control and reap the easy money ahead. Very Australian really. No wonder they were captains.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Yeah but if they do get put in charge their history suggests they’ll fuck it up even worse than it is now

    • Gun

      It’s the curse of the Galapagos where all things are ‘world standard’ but really they are Australian standard and you end up with flying lizards.

  • Adrian

    Outstanding article Hugh.

    At the risk of sounding negative, I’ll completely give this game away if it is effectively taken over by Foxtel, which will then kill it off anyway

    • Ed

      Unfortunately Adrian that is a good chance of coming true.

  • Nutta

    Fight the good fight Hugh. That’s how we look ourselves in the mirror.

  • Greg

    I am honestly sick of this shit.

    Do we have issues, absolutely.

    Do we solve them by declaring the problems and concluding that something has to change?

    Well…. sort of.

    Someone needs to propose solutions.

    Otherwise it is just hand-wringing and white-anting.

    Maybe if Mr Cheika had been punted earlier, the team would be in better shape. The punting is easy (if expensive), The plan B is the part that needs hard work and careful thought.

    If these captains want to help, why not offer to join a task force (or similar) with some specific objectives to solve a specific problem, within a framework agreed by the board. There are good people with their signatures on the letter. They can contribute…. why don’t they?

  • Brisneyland Local

    Intersting development. Apparently McLean (Chair of the RA Board) spoke with NFJ two weeks ago and was briefed on the fact that teh letter was being written and was inbound.
    “World Cup winning captain Nick Farr-Jones is understood to have approached McLean two weeks ago to express his incredible disappointment with the current state of the game which is facing insolvency.

    Farr-Jones also offered to introduce McLean to some capable and experienced former rugby executives and previously written reports on how to build a sustainable business.

    Back then McLean and other members of the board were fully aware that the letter by the captains was being drafted.”

    • Hoss

      And Noddy Lynagh has now distanced himself from the letter as it was ‘never supposed to be made public’

      • Brisneyland Local

        Just when you think they have hit rock bottomw the whole rugby circus grabs an excavator and keeps digging.
        Total Ass clowns the lot of them!

        • Hoss

          It’s all opportunistic for mine. I dont think anybody, code, government, business or household could possibly consider ‘long term plans’ or ‘visions’ of any sort of commercial agreement at present. That would be testament to sheer lunacy given the economic sands are shifting constantly. What i would say though is that there has never been a better time for those same organisations to hit ‘reset’, legitimately rid themselves of people, partnerships and practises that have perhaps shackled them in the past. I doubt there has ever been or hopefully will ever be again (i sure as shit hope not anyway) a chance to relaunch.

          Besides its not illegal to trade insolvent at present. Maybe the RA knew of the beer flu way back in 2019………

        • Brisneyland Local

          It is illegal to trade insolvent if the company directors are aware of it, and are not personally gauranteeing the new debts incurred post the point the directors became aware. The question is whether or not they knew? And when they knew?
          I agree 100%, time to rid ourselves of the shackles that bind
          But the RA, like any company should by now into the Corona period have a number of “Branch plans” developed based off models of wheat futre concepts look like.
          Which is what we have done for each of our companies.

          BTW found a new Kentuckey Bourbon that I have tried. Most delicious.

        • Yowie

          Do “Voldemort” rules apply or can you name of the Bourbon in public?
          Spirits aficionados are keen to know.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Sorry forgot to type it in.
          Wild Turkey American honey

        • Hoss

          Reading an interview with RC today and she stated they are working in 26 scenarios at present.

          And stop being a Kentucky tease – name please.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Wild Turkey American Honey!
          26 is pretty viable.
          We have been through 15. And we are not the size of RA.

    • Nutta

      What’s really interesting is apparently the Capt Group contacted P.Mac with a draft of the letter and the demand was to get full access to financials etc or the letter would be published next day. Apparently within 10min of getting that notice a reply went back from P.Mac saying “no problems, come around now for a full look” … silence … and they published the next day anyway. If true that’s fkn bad-faith scamming. If you’re going to say ‘Stop or I shoot!’ and especially when you justify your indignation on a higher moral standing on the basis of the common good, then you better be damn ready to take your finger off the trigger when the target does indeed stop. Otherwise its premeditated murder all the way through. i think that’s why Noddy tried to peel off. But I’m sorry Noddy, mutiny is what mutiny does. There’s no backing out later. Typical Back.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I agree. I have been told that they also asked for all of the previous reviews done into RA and the Wallabies be made public. That was the sticking point. So they pulled the trigger. I think going public was stupid. All it has done is turned more people against them and tarnish their legacies. On top of that, it just makes this whole rugby stoush the biggest ball of flaming turd the Australian and world public have ever seen.
        It is like a scorched earth policy!

      • Yowie
    • Ads

      I was thinking of this all as a political parody, as both sides seem incapable of seeing the other view. The Mosman boys are clearly the Libs, and Raleine Labor.
      Kearns is Peter Dutton – thinks he has a chance, but doesn’t really. Not too bright.
      Clyne is Turnbull – probably in the wrong party, thinks he’s perfect. Was part of the problem (was even THE problem), but still thinks his shit don’t stink. Ego the size of Uluru.
      Kafer – Tony A – very good attack dog. Cares most for himself.
      McLean – Albo – trying to do the right thing but possibly too late
      NFJ – Corman pulling strings in the background. Possibly well-intentioned.
      Noddy – Julie Bishop. They have the same hair. And both seem to flip flop and not make a friggin decision.
      Castle is Shorten – Franking credits = Folau.
      Cheika is Barnaby – crazy and uncontrollable. Gave birth to several love-children he likes to keep around.
      Scotty J is Bob Katter – fun to have around just to see what he will say. But bat-shit crazy.
      Pocock – Di Natale.
      Alan Jones is Alan Jones
      Fox is Fox
      GAGR is looking a bit like GetUP

      • Brisneyland Local

        Please dont associate us (GAGR) with Get up! ;-)
        We are the Great Unwashed! The Deplorables.

        • Ads

          Haha, more meant GAGR has really only aired the “Raleine can do no wrong” arguments. It’s come across as one-sided to me, and been vociferous in it’s attacks on the blues.

        • Brisneyland Local

          To be honest. I thought all of them were wrong. The 11 (-1 now 10) Capt’s. Raylene. The board. They all have stinking piles of shit that they were standing in. some of their own making, some not. No one here is blameless. I just hope the game can emerge from this utter debacle.

        • Ads

          I agree 100%.

      • Yowie

        “The Cheika = Barnaby” and “Scotty J = Katter” ones made me laugh out loud.

        Regarding “Kafer = Tony A” – The ears are perfect too. If Rod Kafer has a very special relationship with any particular assistant who tries to throw her weight around way above her station, that would be ideal. Does anyone at Fox have the dirt on that?

        • Ads

          Nick McArdle is totally Peta Credlin.

  • laurence king

    Great read mate. What I really find appalling about all this is the way these guys have gone about this letter and it’s timing. At least one of these blokes has deliberately leaked the letter to Fox and at a time when due to the covid 19 virus among others, rugby is on it’s knees. It is a win at all costs, take no prisoners approach and for me, I find it reprehensible.

  • laurence king

    Raelene has just resigned, how sad

  • Country kid

    Truth to power. Gutsy. Thank you Hugh.

  • Bay35Pablo

    Wouldn’t surprise of they just CC’d News Ltd in on the email letter. Or just sent it to them first.

  • Human

    Off topic….just watched a replay of the 2000 Bled in Sydney, 110k people; John Williamson; players having fun; the AB’s were as polished as always but the Wobs were excellent too – passes in front of the man, great hands, constant support; fast game but the players kept going; both halfbacks clearing the ball quickly from the deck – no step, no pump, no waiting for just the right moment; great defence and desperation….where did that go?

  • Fatflanker

    Well said Hugh. Lost a fair bit of respect for some former captains with this Foxtel coup.

Rugby

Can't write, can't play. Tahs and Wallabies.

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