Monday’s Rugby News looks at the search for the next CEO, Rennie’s major sacrifice, Alaalatoa going full Wolf of Wall Street and Beale’s ambitious Wallabies dream
The search begins
Rugby Australia has officially opened the search for Australia’s next top executive as they look for Raelene Castle’s permanent replacement.
In a statement on Friday, chairman Hamish McLennan confirmed that search firm Hattonneale will be appointed to conduct the search.
“The Board is pleased to appoint Hattonneale to lead the search for the next Chief Executive of Rugby Australia,” he said.
“This is one of the premier sports administration roles in the country and we are looking for an individual with strong commercial acumen and the ability to innovate and work with our Member Unions to take the organisation and the game to the next level.
“A Board committee will be established where I will work alongside Pip Marlow, Dan Herbert, and Phil Waugh to run a full and proper process on behalf of the Board in accordance with good governance.
“It is vitally important, now more than ever, that we leave no stone unturned to find the right person to lead Rugby Australia as we begin the process of rebuilding the game in a post-pandemic world.”
According to the SMH, former NRL and FFA CEO David Gallop and everyone’s second favourite Randwick hooker (behind Adam Freier of course) Phil Kearns are amongst the leading candidates for the role.
Other top candidates that are set to be considered include NRL chief operating officer Nick Weeks, Adelaide Crows boss and former RA senior executive Andrew Fagan and former Sydney Rugby Union president and lobbyist David Begg.
The surprising name that has been thrown up is SANZAAR president and GAGR enemy Andy Marinos.
For those that remember a time before the world mirroed the movie ‘2012’, Marinos drew the ire of our esteemed forum after figures emerged of perceived bias towards South African teams.
Rennie committed to the cause
In a sign of his commitment to the Wallabies, new coach Dave Rennie is prepared to take a 30% pay cut when he starts work next month.
As first reported by the Hearld, this will equate to $75,000 over the next three months, with Rennie’s representatives contacting RA interim boss Rob Clarke on Friday to offer up the cut.
The percentage cut is in line with the 30 per cent taken by the organisation’s 15 senior executives after RA was forced to make 1/3 of full-time staff redundant.
This comes just days after RA confirmed that Rennie would not be asked to take a cut, initially expected to be only 5% because his contract had not begun.
With the axing of Castle and his kiwi heritage (which we won’t hold against him), there had been questions about whether he would take on one of the hardest coaching positions in Australian sport.
However, Rennie’s commitment to his new post has been made abundantly clear with director of rugby Scott Johnson revealing that the former Glasgow coach was offering to take the cut as early as April.
“Dave is a really decent rugby man and a good bloke and he understands the situation we’re facing,” Johnson said.
“He offered to take the same pay cut as everyone else way back when all this was kicking off.
“He wasn’t on contract yet so I said we’d talk about it further down the track. That’s the kind of man he is, he would never have separated himself from anyone else.”
Rennie will leave Scotland for New Zealand this week to serve out a quarantine period and spend time with family, before arriving on Australian soil in the middle of July.
Allan’s not going anyone
As some of the
rats players look to leave the supposed sinking ship, Brumbies and Wallabies prop Allan Alaalatoa is echoing the words of Leonardo DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street: I’m not leaving.
With the domestic future and broadcast deal yet to be determined beyond 2020, Rugby Australia is bracing for a potential exodus of players to Europe and Japan.
Whilst Alaalatoa admitted that players were unsure what 2021 and beyond will look like, he reaffirmed that he plans to see out his current deal which will keep him in Australia until 2023.
“I’ve just totally focused everything on this year, just making sure I do everything I can for this franchise because I’m really unsure of what next year holds but that’s for a lot of players,” he said.
“For me, I’ve inked my deal until 2023 I think it is so my plans are to stay here and fight it out and to help Australian rugby get back to where it was both here at the Brumbies and at the Wallaby level.”
Despite the barrage of setbacks that the sport has seemingly faced, the 26-year-old was optimistic about the strong culture that was being built at the Brumbies and Wallabies, with the club returning to full training last week.
“I think that’s definitely the feeling I’m picking up here but everyone’s human at the end of the day, you’ve just got to take everything into consideration,” he said.
“To come in this week, you can really feel the connection especially throughout this tough time that’s when our culture’s going to be tested
“I think coming in this week you can really feel the Brumbies family connection and everyone is genuinely here just to improve as an individual and as a team and to commit themselves to the Brumbies jersey for this year and for the following years.
“I think that’s definitely something I saw coming back this week.”
Beale refusing to give up
Despite appearing to be on the outer of the Wallabies set-up, Waratahs fullback Kurtley Beale is refusing to give up dreams of representing his country in 2020….or even in 2023.
Beale was one of the major admissions from a player of national interest squad in March and with the 31-year-old’s future lying in France, it would appear that his time in gold was up.
However, the 92-Test veteran has told legendary winger David Campese on his Instagram podcast Campo’s Corner that whilst he was disappointed with his snubbing, he is eager to impress new coach Dave Rennie when the domestic comp starts.
“There’s obviously disappointment there, but there’s a reason why and it’s how you bounce back from that and making the most of this opportunity now,” Beale said.
“[I want to] keep getting better and training harder at the things I need to get right.”
Beale is looking beyond 2020, hoping to emulate the likes of George Gregan and Adam Ashley-Cooper as the only Australians to appear at four World Cups in 2023.
He pointed to the influence that Drew Mitchell and Matt Giteau in Australia’s run to the 2015 World Cup final to illustrate the importance of having experienced players in the side for big-pressure moments.
“You’d say a lot of people would think I’m a long way off, but … I’ve had the opportunity to be at three World Cups now; I’ve got a fair idea on what is required,” Beale said.
“You see in 2015 the impact Drew Mitchell and Matt Giteau had when they came back.
“A lot of people [were] writing them off and [saying] the young guys should be coming through and given the opportunity,
“If you want to win World Cups then you need experience, and in-form players that are coming back and are used to those big-pressure moments.
“So of course I’d love to be a part of it. I’d love to keep playing for the Wallabies forever. I’ll be doing everything I can moving forward, especially in this next chapter, to put my best foot forward to wear the Wallaby gold again.”