‘Dead man walking’: Rugby Australia chair Hamish McLennan told to resign after…

Australian rugby has erupted into civil war with six member unions demanding the resignation of embattled chairman Hamish McLennan following the botched hiring of Eddie Jones.

McLennan fired Dave Rennie as Australia head coach in January to accommodate the return of Jones, fresh from his own sacking as England boss.

Jones was handed a five-year contract which was supposed to signal the rebirth of Australian rugby leading into the 2025 Lions tour and the 2027 World Cup on home soil. At the time of his hiring, McLennan described Jones as “the best coach in the world” and claimed his “deep understanding of our rugby system and knowledge of our player group and pathways will lift the team to the next level”.

Instead, what was widely described as a ‘captain’s pick’ by McLennan backfired horribly as Australia crashed out of the World Cup pool stages for the first time before Jones walked away after winning just two of his nine matches in charge. Jones has now declared his interest in taking up a role as Japan head coach.

More from Stuff:

* Former Wallabies great Stephen Larkham open to replacing Eddie Jones as coach
* Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan won’t quit over Eddie Jones’ resignation
* Rugby Australia chair backs Eddie Jones as winless coach predicts All Blacks shock

Now the majority of Australia’s member unions have called for McLennan’s immediate resignation and, should he resist, will call for an extraordinary general meeting to force his exit. A source told the Australian Daily Telegraph that “we have the votes to move him on. He is a dead man walking”.

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McLennan has already indicated he is prepared to stand firm as he seeks to centralise control of the sport in Australia. Yet in a damning letter released by the unions of Queensland, ACT, Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania, his detractors pointed to his hiring to Jones as well as sanctioning a costly cross-code raid for Joseph Suaalii.

The letter to the Australia board states: “We, the undersigned Member Unions of Rugby Australia, are calling for the Chair, Hamish McLennan, to immediately resign as Chair and Director of Rugby Australia.

“We do not believe Mr McLennan has been acting in the best interests of our game. We no longer have any trust or faith in his leadership, or the direction in which he is taking rugby in Australia.

“After deliberation and discussion, we decided we must take action in order to protect the reputation and future of our game. Governance and high-performance sport are about judgement – good judgement.

“During the past 12 months Mr McLennan has made a series of calls that have harmed the standing and reputation of our game and led us to question his judgement and his understanding of high-performance sport.

“His decisions and “captain’s picks” have directly led to an historic failure at the men’s Rugby World Cup and a Wallabies international ranking at an historic low, with all of the regrettable and public fallout that came with it.

“In addition to this, Mr McLennan’s use of player poaching to threaten other sports and boost our own stocks and performance alienates us from having collaborative conversations with the other major sports to improve participation across the Australian community.”

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