OFFICIAL NEWS: Rugby Australia meets to discuss move to remove chairman Hamish McLennan due to…

The Rugby Australia board is meeting for a second time to discuss the fate of Hamish McLennan after six state unions sent a letter of no confidence to the chairman on Friday urging him to stand down.

Rugby Australia board members had a phone hook up on Saturday morning and a follow-up meeting was scheduled for later in the afternoon.

The state unions also released a statement on Friday which included a letter to Rugby Australia formally calling for an extraordinary general meeting to be held. Under the Rugby Australia constitution, that meeting must be convened within 60 days and members can call a vote to remove a director.

The six unions had initially given McLennan until 5pm on Saturday to consider his position, and if he declined to resign they would formally seek an EGM. Member unions can remove a Rugby Australia director by a majority vote, and the six unions believe they have the numbers.

The Rugby Australia board can also remove its chairman, if so minded.

In the letter to the board, the six states said they had lost trust in McLennan’s leadership of the game.

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

McLennan said on Friday he would fight the move to oust him.

“This will be the defining moment for the battle of rugby. It’s all about money and control and we have been failing for years. We live in interesting times,” McLennan told the Sydney Morning Herald. “This is about principles. They are actually not putting the game first and it’s about self-interest and parochialism.”

Earlier in the day, McLennan received the backing of influential business figures Andrew and Nicola Forrest, who issued a message of support for the under-fire chairman.

The Forrests own the Western Force through their company Tattarang, and as the holder of a Super Rugby licence, are a voting member of the Australian Rugby Union. Rugby WA, however, are among the six state unions who are seeking McLennan’s resignation.

“Hamish is steering rugby through a very difficult period from the complete mess that he inherited,” Andrew and Nicola Forrest told The Australian in a statement.

“Yes, we would have all preferred a win at the World Cup, but this is not going to happen unless we rebuild national rugby from the grassroots up. As the community grassroots investment starts to feed through, we look forward to much better results in the years ahead.

“Now is not the time for more disruption in the sport, but a time for rugby to band together and back the proposed centralisation reforms. We support the efforts Hamish and the existing board are making to centralise high performance and improve governance to ensure Australian rugby administration is focused on what’s best for the game, its players and fans.”

Melbourne Rebels chairman Paul Docherty also offered public support for McLennan. The Rebels and Rugby Victoria were not approached by the six state unions to join their campaign because they are deep in negotiations to “integrate” with Rugby Australia. NSW Rugby were also not included in the plan.

“From Melbourne’s perspective, a united game provides a stable platform for much-needed investment, that ensures growth in our grassroots, right through to successful Super Rugby clubs, and the Wallabies,” Docherty told the Sydney Morning Herald in a statement.

“By his own admission, Hamish has said there have been some speed bumps for rugby in Australia, but more importantly, some major achievements like our RWC 27/29 hosting rights, that will transform the game of rugby over the next decade. We can’t land years of problems at the feet of one person. We are all custodians of the game for a short time, and our goal should be to come together, not to create more division.”

Rugby Victoria also have one vote as a Rugby Australia state member union and have historically been closely aligned with the Rebels.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.