Wanted: New leader for Australian rugby union
Australian rugby union chief executive John O'Neill. AAP Image/Paul Miller
Confidential: You will be a successful sport administrator who has worked at the highest levels of sports management. Your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to revitalise Australian rugby.
As background it is important to understand that the current top down growth strategy through Super Rugby has failed.
You primary area of responsibility is to put in place a strategic plan to address the top down growth failings, specifically the following:
The perception is that the Australian Conference of Super Rugby is inferior when compared to the New Zealand and South Africa.
For example, the Western Force are on the verge of imploding and in need of assistance.
Somehow the Wallabies playing for the Waratahs cannot win for them but can for Australia, while in the process half of their supporter base have been driven away, continuing to live in a vacuum of denial.
The Waratah problem is of concern as it directly impacts on the largest source of juniors in our market. The jury is still out on Melbourne. Only the Reds and the Brumbies provide any real rugby credibility.
Declining referee standards.
Australia only has one referee on the IRB international panel and he is Steve Walsh – an ex-New Zealander. The panel for the 2012 junior world championships had no Australian referees on it. The only Australian Super Rugby referee is the same ex-New Zealander.
Poor coaching standards.
Only the Brumbies and the Reds have creditable coaches. The Australian under-20 side has just had the worst tournament in its history; they have had the same coach for the last four tournaments.
With no free-to-air coverage, rugby is seen only by those that can afford to pay. This is at direct odds with the rugby ethos as being a game for all.
There is a requirement to consider an under-23 competition to dovetail into the Australian Conference games with a focus on providing young players, young referees and less experienced coaches an opportunity to further develop their skills.
In the process there will be more product for TV and a better chance of entering the free-to-air market.
Finally, it is important that the successful applicant comes to the position professionally unencumbered (i.e. no involvement with any other business or boards whilst in this position).
Anyone up to it?
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