It’s with nice pleasure we put up the next opinion piece from G&GR stalwart, legend and pissed off rugby fan, Mr Hugh Cavill. Take it away Hugh.
There’s an outdated saying that individuals wish to roll out at instances like this: the night time is all the time darkest earlier than the daybreak. However I’m right here to inform you that whereas it’s fairly damned darkish, don’t count on the solar any time quickly. Why? The people who acquired us into this mess are nonetheless behind the wheel, regardless of them telling us in any other case.
What we really need is a CEO who’s devoid of any hyperlinks to the outdated boys community, somebody with a background in sports activities administration who can use greatest follow to get us on the fitting path. The issue is, we had one, properly, truly we had two. And their tales typify the strategy that has led us right here. They’re price revising as a result of I feel they’ve been a bit misplaced on this week’s put up mortem.
Raelene Fortress wasn’t the messiah; she wasn’t a flawless CEO by any stretch. She did, nevertheless, get quite a lot of issues proper. She severed the decaying relationship between the code and Fox Sports activities and put in movement a transfer to 9/Stan (introduced simply after her departure). She initiated the 2027 World Cup bid. She put in Dave Rennie as Wallaby coach, and it was reported this week in that course of due diligence was carried out on appointing Eddie Jones nevertheless it was deemed an excessive amount of of a danger. However greater than that, Fortress had the nerve to counsel that the pathways that gained us World Cups in 1991 and 1999 will not be match for goal in 2020.
And the story from right here could also be acquainted to you, nevertheless it’s price repeating.
She was attacked viciously within the Information Corp press (I haven’t forgotten the continuous efforts of
Jessica Halloran and Jamie Pandaram and nor must you), ably assisted by leakers from inside
Rugby Australia and RUPA. She was publicly harangued by former gamers, which got here to a head when a letter signed by 11 former captains calling for her resignation was leaked to a journalist (guess who). And let’s not let these 11 dwell in anonymity – they have been Phil Kearns, Nick Farr-Jones, Simon Poidevin, Rod McCall, George Smith, Nathan Sharpe, Stephen Moore, George Gregan, Stirling Mortlock, Jason Little and Michael Lynagh
In that letter they requested the present administration “heed our name and stand apart to permit the sport to be reworked”. They didn’t specify why precisely, past broad statements about poor governance and a ‘misplaced connection’ to the grassroots. They acquired their means. Fortress left and the outdated guard rejoiced.
After a brief interim tenure by Rob Clarke, the Rugby Australia board appointed Andy Marinos to the CEO place. Marinos was Zimbabwean by descent, was capped for Wales and had served as CEO of SANZAAR, one other outsider with a background in sports activities administration. Marinos continued Fortress’s and Clarke’s work, signing a brand new CBA and implementing reform that noticed RA’s funds return to the black for the primary time in a few years.
However, he butted heads with Chairman Hamish McLennan behind the scenes; he moved too slowly, he was too methodical, he was reluctant to spend large cash on rugby league gamers. So his sudden need to resign earlier this 12 months could be seen with a wholesome diploma of scepticism. We’ve seen this playbook earlier than.
And now in comes Phil Waugh after yet one more ‘international search’. A earlier board member (no phrase from the 11 captains on his appointment regardless of him being a central determine within the administration they needed to face apart, humorous that) and a Shore outdated boy who performed for Sydney College, the Waratahs and Wallabies. Don’t get me flawed, I liked Phil Waugh. I went to Shore and dreamed of taking part in for the Waratahs and Wallabies (the myopic view of selectors at each stage noticed me regularly neglected, stymieing one of many nice careers earlier than it had the prospect to start. However within the phrases of the good Lee Grant, I digress).
It’s inconceivable to see Waugh as an agent of change when he’s the very definition of the established order for rugby on this nation. Privately educated, Sydney raised with no background in sports activities
administration past varied boards and committees. McLennan is similar.
Make no mistake, it’s folks with Waugh and McLennan’s background and perspective that led us right here. The 2 folks with the skillset to steer us out of this mess have been moved on as a result of they didn’t match the mould. They didn’t converse the language of the outdated guard, the outdated blokes within the membership room at Coogee Oval at 3:00pm on a Saturday arvo. These folks suppose they’re the sport on this nation and so they have the folks behind them. They suppose the reply is to do the issues we did in 1991 as a result of that labored. They have been all there and so they all noticed it.
Take a look at the language used after they sacked Rennie and appointed Eddie Jones: “Eddie’s deep
understanding of our rugby system and information of our participant group and pathways will elevate the group to the following stage… Eddie instinctively understands the Australian means of taking part in rugby.” In different phrases, he’s one among us. As soon as once more this strategy has failed us, however they aren’t keen to listen to it. They’ve folks behind them, however that assist ends on the Coogee Oval gates and there’s a terrific large world past them they’re blissfully unaware of. A world of ladies and public colleges and regional footy and a rusted on fanbase waking up and checking the rating as an alternative of setting an alarm for 1:00am like they used to do.
Till they give up their grip on the sport we’ll see no change. The established order will proceed and I’ll see you all right here in two years’ time after we go down 3-0 to the Lions.
Or possibly I gained’t see you in any respect.