The rugby union Players’ Association (RUPA) has backed the Victorian rugby union’s request for a special general meeting of the Australian rugby union’s board, which could bring the Super Rugby saga to a head.
RUPA on Wednesday said its board had voted unanimously for a meeting to be held as soon as practicable to seek a “transparent, comprehensive update” on the ARU’s plans to kill off one Australian Super Rugby franchise.
Those 13 RUPA board members include chairman Bruce Hodgkinson SC, president and Waratahs lock Dean Mumm, his NSW teammate Wallaby Bernard Foley and former Test skipper Stephen Moore.
Under the ARU’s constitution, a general meeting must be held if it is requested by two voting members.
The Rebels on Tuesday demanded that RUPA step up and do more for its players, with this resolution coming after the two groups met in Melbourne late in the day.
RUPA’s support of the VRU comes after months of speculation following the ARU’s announcement that either the Melbourne Rebels or Western Force would be cut from the Super Rugby competition ahead of the rationalised 2018 format.
“The ARU’s intent to axe an Australian Super Rugby team has lacked transparency and consultation with key stakeholders,” RUPA chief executive Ross Xenos said in at statement.
“The ongoing uncertainty and secrecy of this process continues to do unprecedented damage to the reputation of the game and has placed unacceptable distress on players and their families.”
RUPA said the ARU needed to focus on fighting its real enemies if there was no justifiable cost-saving in cutting a team.
“It’s about time we stopped uppercutting ourselves, backed the retention of five Super Rugby teams and got on with fighting our common enemies outside the tent,” Xenos said.
Xenos questioned the financial management of the ARU’s rumoured plan to buy back the Rebels’ licence from owner Andrew Cox, with those millions better spent on grass-roots rugby.
“Why are we cutting a team at all and limiting Australian Rugby’s future if there are such discretionary funds within the game that the ARU can afford to buy a licence, only to scrunch it up and throw it away?” Xenos asked.