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.
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.
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,