A fearless anatomy of the ARU’s slow-motion Super Rugby car crash

Spiro Zavos Columnist

By Spiro Zavos, Spiro Zavos is a Roar Expert

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    The ARU’s incompetent attempt to decide which one of its five Super Rugby teams will be eliminated from next year’s tournament is creating a slow-motion car crash for Australian rugby.

    On Monday 10 April 2017, at 9.38am, the ARU issued a long media release titled: ‘ARU to consult Force and Rebels as Super Rugby moves to 15 teams in 2018’.

    The media release confirmed that an Australian team will be removed from Super Rugby next season when the format reverts to a 15-team, three-conference format. But rather than nominating that team, the ARU announced that three teams were safe, the Waratahs, the Reds and (surprisingly) the Brumbies.

    I say “surprisingly” because expectation from the rugby community was that the Waratahs and Reds were safe, that the teams at some slight risk were the Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels, and the really unsafe side was the Western Force.

    By confirming the Brumbies as safe, without any details why this decision had been made, and at the same time setting up a hunger games contest between the Rebels and the Force, the ARU took its hands off the steering wheel.

    This stupid set of decisions has set up a slow-motion Super Rugby car crash for the ARU.

    No one can predict with certainty the damage that this car crash will have on rugby in Australia.

    Scott Fardy Brumbies Rugby Union Super Rugby 2017

    But already we can see, even before the final smash-up that a burgeoning rugby culture in either Melbourne or Perth will be threatened. We can see that there will be a series of court cases that will drain the already stretched expenditures from the ARU.

    We can see that the growing bitterness from the grassroots of the game will be enhanced. And we can see that the ‘closed shop’ mentality of the ARU will come under further (and deserved) attack.

    The ARU chairman Cameron Clyne made the point in the media release that the decision had been made by his board: “It is important for me to clarify firstly that the decision to remove a Super Rugby team from Australia was a decision made by the ARU, not by SANZAAR.”

    This is an extremely important admission from Clyne. It confirms that the ARU took full responsibility for the decision to eliminate a Super Rugby team. It also confirms that the ARU did not take any soundings from all the stakeholders in Australian rugby.

    This admission, moreover, raises several important questions: When did the ARU know that they were going to cut a team? Presumably, following the SANZAAR conference at London some weeks ago.

    Why, with this prior knowledge that they were going to drop a team from Super Rugby, has the ARU been making up its responses seemingly on a day-to-day basis?

    Bill Pulver ARU CEO

    The point here is that SANZAAR had agreed in London to the 15-team format and, presumably, the ARU and the SARU had agreed to cut their franchises, respectively, by one and two teams.

    The ARU had some weeks, therefore, before last Monday to decide which team was going to be cut and what provisions needed to be put in place to help that franchise maintain a rugby presence in their city.

    The media release, in fact, made it clear that due diligence had been done on all the teams:

    “At the request of the Board, ARU management completed an exhaustive analysis on three of our teams – the Brumbies, Western Force and Melbourne Rebels.

    “The purpose of the analysis was to assess each of those teams on their financial sustainability, high performance and commercial factors, examining a range of metrics, with a view to identifying which of those three teams to remove from the competition.

    “After reviewing management findings, the Board made the decision to eliminate the Brumbies from the process and identified that consultation is required with both the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels to further understand their financial position.

    “We don’t anticipate this final consultation period being a long drawn out process and expect to be able to deliver an outcome in the very near future.”

    When pressed on the this time-table at a media conference, Clyne suggested that “the very near future” probably a time before the Easter weekend.

    Why was the troubled Brumbies franchise, with its court cases and its dismal crowds, given a free pass when several of its “metrics” are worse than those of the Rebels or the Force?

    And if the ARU could decide so quickly on the Brumbies, why couldn’t the same sort of decisiveness be applied to the Rebels and the Force?

    The day after the ARU’s Monday media release it was clear that a series of pot-holes had been created by the organisation’s lack of decisiveness about which team was to be booted out of Super Rugby.

    So on Tuesday, at 11.04, a second ARU media release about the consultation process hit the email baskets of the rugby world: ‘ARU statement on consultation with the Western Force and the Melbourne Rebels’.

    “The ARU will undertake due process to ensure that both the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force are given adequate opportunity to present their business case before the Board makes a final decision on which team to be removed.

    “We maintain our commitment to reaching resolution on this matter as soon as possible, however the timeline that we initially anticipated of 48 – 72 hours will not apply.”

    From a problem that was going to be resolved in a matter of days, the ARU had negotiated itself into a situation that was going to take weeks, if not months, to resolve.

    A clue to how long this process might take can be gauged from South Africa where the Franchise Committee of the SARU will consider the metrics involving all their Super Rugby franchises in about three weeks, with a decision to then go its Executive Council before its presentation to the General Council for ratification.

    The thought in South Africa is that this process will take months rather than weeks.

    Will the same sort of delay take place in Australia?

    The short answer is that no one knows, especially the ARU. It would be surprising, though, if a final resolution is achieved by ARU within weeks. The likelihood is that the court actions will take some months to resolve.

    On Tuesday, well before the second media release and probably prompting it in part, Georgina Robinson published a critical and informed analysis in The Sydney Morning Herald of the ARU’s handling of the crisis. Her opening two sentences were devastating:

    “The Melbourne Rebels were never in the Super Rugby firing line so it is a tribute to the ARU’s capacity to bring a fight upon itself that within 24 hours of the board vote to cut a Super Rugby team the governing body was facing the threat of legal action from club owner Andrew Cox.

    “Fairfax Media has been told a senior ARU official assured Cox a month ago that the youngest Australian team would be spared the guillotine in the protracted process to determine which licence the national union would revoke as part of the Super Rugby’s return to a 15-team format.”

    If this is right, and there is no reason to doubt Robinson’s assertion (she has very good contacts inside the ARU), then the ARU made an elementary mistake of tactics in including the Rebels with the Force for a possible elimination from the Super Rugby tournament.

    Robinson also revealed that the ARU board vote last Sunday on eliminating a team from the Super Rugby tournament was 8 – 1. And that the long-time chairman of WA Rugby Geoffrey Stooke, who is on the board as independent director, voted against the motion.

    Robinson also revealed that on the Monday of the first media release, the day after the 8–1 vote, the ARU’s chief operating officer Rob Clarke and chief financial officer Todd Day had a three-and-a-half hour meeting with Force officials in Perth.

    “RugbyWA representatives described being presented with a fait accompli at the meeting … with a detailed breakdown of why the Force – their alliance partner – should be axed ahead of the Rebels,” Robinson reported.

    If this is right, and I would trust Robinson’s reporting on this, then the question has to be asked: Why didn’t the ARU axe the Force on Monday?

    Cameron Clyne and Bill Pulver have ear-bashed the rugby media for years about how wonderful in terms of business acumen the current ARU board is.

    It is clear from the mishandling of the four Super Rugby teams matter that this notion put forward by Clyne and Pulver is nonsense. Business 101 is that you close a deal as soon and as completely as you can. You do not leave the victim of the deal, in this case the Force, with even a remote chance of escaping its fate by setting up an alternative victim.

    You don’t have to be a giant of business skills to know that when the ARU identified the Force as the team that had to go, the axe should have come down on it then.

    This immediate execution strategy is all the more obvious because the Force expected to be axed, hence the Stooke dissenting vote.

    Bill Pulver

    Moreover, the ARU actually owns the Force. Owners, you would think, can exercise some power over the institution they own. Certainly, the ARU has more leverage over the Force than it has over the Rebels which are privately owned.

    There are other very good reasons, too, to support the decision to axe the Force, if the ARU is convinced that one of the Australian teams has to go.

    The travel cost of involved with basing a team in Perth, one of the most isolated major cities in the world, are enormous compared with those of the teams on the eastern seaboard of Australian.

    Melbourne is a much bigger television and population market than Perth.

    Then there is the problem of the Force’s time zone. I say “problem” because the line (which I accepted at the time) sold to the media and supporters when the Force came into the Super Rugby tournament was that it would bridge the gap between Australian and South African time.

    But this week the CEO of Sky Television in New Zealand punctured this proposition.

    He said that the New Zealand broadcaster was happy to pay the same amount of money for fewer teams because the games in South Africa don’t attract large numbers due to the time zone, a problem that involves the Force as well because “by the time they play an evening match there it’s after midnight in New Zealand.”

    The advantage for the broadcasters of the South African teams, though, is that they are in the UK time zone making Super Rugby an attractive product in the UK and for the broadcaster BSKYB, which pays a lot of money for the product.

    The Sunwolves, for instance, fit into the Australian/New Zealand time zones and this makes their inclusion in Super Rugby an attractive product for sports broadcasters in Japan.

    The Force doesn’t really fit any of the time zones and this is actually a disadvantage to the franchise as a commercial product.

    I am sure that these considerations came into play when the ARU, initially at least, decided that the Force was the team that had to be culled.

    Matt Hodgson Western Force Super Rugby Union 2017 tallNSW deserves to benefit from Super cull: chairman‘.

    Davis agreed on the cull. “I don’t think we can support five sides in this country and be competitive,” he told Decent.

    On the matter of how the ARU was going to distribute the money it saved by the cull, Davis was blunt. It had to go to grassroots rugby in NSW and Queensland:

    “I’m unequivocally selfish in this. Focusing on NSW and my colleagues to the north in Queensland, we’ve got 80 per cent of the players, 80 per cent of the Super players: they all come from NSW and Queensland and that’s where we believe any community funding should be directed.”

    On Friday, around 7.38 pm, in time for the Saturday newspapers to highlight, the Melbourne Rebels issued a lengthy statement with the angry headline: ‘Not on our Watch’.

    “The Melbourne Rebels rugby union deny the right of the Australian rugby union to ‘cut or chop’ the Melbourne Rebels from the Super Rugby Competition …

    “The advice from ARU chairman, Cameron Clyne, that the Brumbies are “safe” and either the Rebels or the Force would be “cut” is “contrary to advice that the MRRU had previously perceived from ARU management … We unequivocally reject that the ARU has any ability to ‘chop’ or ‘cut’ the Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby licence. Any representation by the ARU, including its chairman, to that effect is legally incorrect and in complete conflict with the constitution of the ARU. The ARU’s continued use of these terms and perpetuation of this myth continues to cause significant damage to the MRRU and its players and staff.”

    These last two sentences raise the probability of legal action in search of compensation for damage done to the Rebels franchise, even if they become the team that survives the hunger games contest with the Force. This point was emphasised at the end of the statement: “Given these actions (by the ARU) MRRU has notified the ARU of its intention to seek compensation and at this time has reserved all right.”

    Can the car crash be averted?

    Certainly not with the current passive-aggressive way the ARU board, its chairman and chief executive are handling the crisis they have inflicted on the Rebels, the Force and the Australian rugby community.

    There needs to be a plan that creates some order and potential for growth to divert and stop the present slide into chaos.

    Tony McGahan Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby Union 2017

    Right now the Force and the Rebels are like two opponents pulling at different ends of a rope that has a knot in the middle. The harder they pull, the tighter the knot becomes for the ARU to unravel.

    Somehow the knot has to be cut. But how?

    Wayne Smith in The Australian on Saturday has put forward a way of cutting the knot in an article with a self-explanatory headline: ‘My solution for fixing Super Rugby: shifting the Brumbies to Melbourne’.

    This was a solution that some of us (myself included) put forward before Sunday’s statement by the ARU that the Brumbies were safe from the chop.

    No matter how sensible this solution is it suffers from the handicap that it cannot happen, unless the ARU decides some time in the future (but hopefully never) to reduce its Super Rugby teams to three.

    But there is some merit in the gist of the Smith solution. Instead of shifting the Brumbies to Melbourne, the intellectual property of the Force (which the ARU owns) and its talent, present and being developed, should be shifted to the Rebels.

    Perth should be the development sector, along with Melbourne, for the Rebels.

    In return, the Rebels should play South African opponents at Perth and provide players, if necessary, for the West Australian team in the NRC.

    Hopefully, with this sort of trade-off, the rugby community in Perth can be maintained. And in time, a decade or so perhaps, when Australia is in a position to set up a fifth side in a well-considered expansion of Super Rugby, the Force can be re-born as a franchise that is competitive on and off the field.

    Without some sort of plan along these lines, we should the mother of all car crashes for rugby in Australia and the burning destruction of one of Super Rugby franchises, either the Rebels or (more likely) the Force. Oh the horror!

    Spiro Zavos
    Spiro Zavos

    Spiro Zavos, a founding writer on The Roar, was long time editorial writer on the Sydney Morning Herald, where he started a rugby column that has run for nearly 30 years. Spiro has written 12 books: fiction, biography, politics and histories of Australian, New Zealand, British and South African rugby. He is regarded as one of the foremost writers on rugby throughout the world.

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    The Crowd Says (509)

    • April 17th 2017 @ 6:37am
      Rt said | April 17th 2017 @ 6:37am | ! Report

      Personally I’ve already got ARU incompetence fatigue. I think they should adopt the George Castanza ‘opposite approach’ which as I recall had reasoning that because every decision George had made had led him to the parlous position he was currently in he was henceforward going to do the exact opposite of what he thought was the correct way forward.

      • Roar Guru

        April 17th 2017 @ 7:52am
        Rabbitz said | April 17th 2017 @ 7:52am | ! Report

        Maybe that is already happening…

      • April 17th 2017 @ 11:45pm
        Sergey Lavrov - Minister for Foreign Affairs said | April 17th 2017 @ 11:45pm | ! Report

        So, we will cut the Waratahs. Then the people of Sydney will have the Shute comp as their elite rugby fix. The smaller rugby towns have the one elite Super outfit to cheer on.

        So crazy, it might work.

    • April 17th 2017 @ 6:41am
      Mella said | April 17th 2017 @ 6:41am | ! Report

      Here is an alternative solution. The Aus/Japan conference should be expanded, add an additional Australian team and Fiji, so its an 8 team conference. Completely close it off so there are no cross conference games with the NZ/Saffa conferences, just make it a standalone home and away competition, like every other normal pro sports league in the world. Then, in a 4 or 5 team super rugby finals series, this conference would only provide 1 team, acknowledging its significantly weaker than the NZ/Saffa conferences. Get rid of the NRC and based the additional Australian team in western Sydney.

      This fixes most of the problems with Super rugby. The NZ/Saffa teams get to play each other more, which they have both reiterated the importance of. Australia gets a standalone competition in which a more competitive Japanese team provides additional commercial potential, and a Fijian team funded by the IRB provides an outlet for pacific island professional rugby and a team that plays exciting rugby. In one foul swoop that fixes most of the problems

      • April 17th 2017 @ 10:48am
        bobillyboo said | April 17th 2017 @ 10:48am | ! Report

        How does linking S.A. with N.Z comps work with the timezones? If anything the comp needs to be split into Tasman/Pacific and Indian/Atlantic zones. 2 pacific, 5 NZ, 5 AUS, 2 JP.
        Agree wholeheartedly – we need to create a platform for the island nations. They need to stand on their own two feet without nz/aus poaching players into there own comps (and national teams). SANZAR needs to play each player a base salary, The clubs can bid for the extra on top.
        I would also encourage teams to have a couple of international stars in there sides, like Digby Ioane at the Crusaders, learning from within a different francise, with different players, but bringing it back into his local game.

      • April 17th 2017 @ 12:17pm
        Daws said | April 17th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

        Surprised that hasn’t been raised more Mella…

    • April 17th 2017 @ 7:13am
      Ruckin' Oaf said | April 17th 2017 @ 7:13am | ! Report

      Although the ARU has said that the Brumbies won’t be cut – not that they won’t be moved………..

      And can you rule anything out from this unfolding farce ?

      • Roar Rookie

        April 17th 2017 @ 10:51am
        Kirky said | April 17th 2017 @ 10:51am | ! Report

        Read Georgia Robinsons article where she states that the Brumbies are by no means off the hook yet!

        She says that the Brumbies are not as affluent as the ARU is making out and are still hard up as they ever were and they have virtually little or no Sponsors signed on as yet, so it seems the ARU has jumped in declaring them to be “untouchable ” before the Force and the Rebels had threatened Court Action and by Robinsons account it is now being looked at as it would be a far cheaper option to axe the Brumbies than having to go to Court with the Force and the Rebels as they just can’t afford a lengthy scrap over the situation!

        Seemingly the Reds and the Waratahs have been given millions of dollars to keep them happy over Seasons gone, and the Force and Rebels have had to operate on a handout of just over a million dollas which is grossly unfair.

        The Brumbies have been in struggle street for years and as the CEO of the Force has just said, “We are now able to support ourselves ” and he wouldn’t speak for the Rebels or the Brumbies who as Georgina Robinson states, are broke!

        Her article must have some substance as no Journalist in the main could afford to make published in National Newspapers, comments such as this unless they were spot on with their analysis!

        Perhaps this could explain the delay in the “death knell ” announcement and seemingly the old Brumbies aren’t as safe as purported!

        • Roar Guru

          April 17th 2017 @ 1:04pm
          Mark Richmond said | April 17th 2017 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

          There is to be a Brumbies sponsor announcement this week, they have a Pre-paid 30 year lease on their training facility at the University of Canberra, it certainly won’t be a cheap option, and will also certainly start legal action.

          • April 17th 2017 @ 1:09pm
            Train Without A Station said | April 17th 2017 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

            They haven’t prepaid 30 years

          • April 17th 2017 @ 1:50pm
            AndyS said | April 17th 2017 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

            Surely if it is pre-paid, then it has already been spent and would just be lost capital. It only gets expensive if they have an agreement for future payment.

            • April 17th 2017 @ 2:16pm
              Bakkies said | April 17th 2017 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

              There’s a reason why it’s pre paid but the SMH of course push their own agenda. The Brumbies and ACT Government are of course not stupid enough to say.

              Canberra also has 99 year lease hold laws so you technically don’t own the land that you are residing or operating from. With the lease pre paid the Brumbies won’t be subject to extortionate future rises in the Australian property market (and they are darned high already).


          • April 17th 2017 @ 7:17pm
            Yeats said | April 17th 2017 @ 7:17pm | ! Report

            The Brumbies sold their Griffith training HQ four years ago for $11.4M and now only have around $1M left in the bank…?? These are hardly sound financials.

            • Roar Guru

              April 17th 2017 @ 7:54pm
              Mark Richmond said | April 17th 2017 @ 7:54pm | ! Report

              Because of the development at UC (cost to Brumbies $5 million apparently) and the 30 year Pre paid lease, rumoured to be valued at 400-500K per Year)…..at least according to the bun fight with Michael Jones last year. I cannot say if it was purposely or accidentally done this way, but I reckon the ARU have looked at the potential cost of dumping the Brumbies and blanched. If they lost a court case they would potentially be up for a compensation bill of In excess of $20 million.

              • April 17th 2017 @ 8:03pm
                Train Without A Station said | April 17th 2017 @ 8:03pm | ! Report

                If that’s the case they have not prepaid 30 years as would have cost them $12M

              • April 17th 2017 @ 11:44pm
                Bakkies said | April 17th 2017 @ 11:44pm | ! Report

                The ACT Government also contribute funding towards the base.

          • April 20th 2017 @ 6:26pm
            ScottD said | April 20th 2017 @ 6:26pm | ! Report

            are we still waiting for this announcement?

        • April 17th 2017 @ 2:10pm
          Bakkies said | April 17th 2017 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

          She says that the Brumbies are not as affluent as the ARU is making out and are still hard up as they ever were and they have virtually little or no Sponsors signed on as yet’

          Ignoring your SMH propaganda and driven bollocks aside the Brumbies will be making sponsorship announcements in the coming weeks. The first one is next week.

    • April 17th 2017 @ 7:34am
      Bungie said | April 17th 2017 @ 7:34am | ! Report

      The only way to stop the car crash is to start winning.

      • April 17th 2017 @ 12:41pm
        AndyS said | April 17th 2017 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

        That actually has nothing to do with it. This was all put in motion last year and is down to the S18 format and the ARU financial forecasting. Nothing that has happened since the end of last season has meant anything.

    • April 17th 2017 @ 7:39am
      Julie said | April 17th 2017 @ 7:39am | ! Report

      Sorry they won’t keep me and I’m a passionate Force and rugby Fan. The damage this is doing is unbelievable. I think it’s time to just start over and put every team through the same criteria and then decide who goes if that is what has to happen.

      • Roar Guru

        April 17th 2017 @ 9:29am
        Lano said | April 17th 2017 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        I agree Julie. Tell the kids they were born in the wrong time zone….

      • April 17th 2017 @ 9:35am
        Noodles said | April 17th 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

        Julie: there’s no reason to think that another round would produce a better result. The ARU and equally its constituent State unions are inept and incapable.
        The best result now is a quick one. Spiro suggests a merger of the force with the Rebels, which makes sense and gives Melbourne a real shot at development. Accompanied by a commitment to a Perth national championship team this is the shortest route to stability and progress.
        The rugby public should then ask for an independent inquiry into the failed national and state rugby leadership. Followed by sweeping changes that bring a more representative leadership to the rugby community.

        • Roar Rookie

          April 17th 2017 @ 2:52pm
          Ben Gath said | April 17th 2017 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

          If the Force are removed from the comp it will kill Rugby in WA instantly there is no way that anyone will support a Melbourne based team. The local comp will die and rugby will be lost in wa for ever. This is the stark reality of the prospect of cutting have the Force.

          The mistrust West Australians have of those In the east is huge and people would activly campaign against the ARU.

          Don’t bother with bledisloe test no one will attend as well as the wa gov pulling the 5million dollar funding for the 2019 test the ARU thought the force would just roll over and die but then now find themselves facing multiple law suits following the signing of an alliance agreement between the ARU and the force which the ARU are clearly In breach of.

          • April 17th 2017 @ 3:42pm
            Noodles said | April 17th 2017 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

            I’m sure that’s all true Ben. I’m afraid at this stage there’s no alternative. The brumbies did well because politics in Sydney and Brisbane left great players on the shelf. It’s clear that there are not enough players for five strong teams. Continuing losses and poor performances will bring down the game nationally and internationally. Something has to give.
            The only response to this is to seriously work over the leadership in Australia and provincial rugby.

            • April 17th 2017 @ 8:01pm
              Piru said | April 17th 2017 @ 8:01pm | ! Report

              With all respect, there are 4 other alternatives

              • April 18th 2017 @ 2:16pm
                Noodles said | April 18th 2017 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

                But they’re not going to be considered?

              • April 18th 2017 @ 5:42pm
                Rebellion said | April 18th 2017 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

                WA fans,
                Just stop and think about some of the comments you are making…get all 5 teams to submit – THAT IS LAUGHABLE !!’
                NSW & QLD ‘is’ rugby union in this country. Before we got saddled with the Farce – the original 3x teams delivered 2 x RWC’s and an era of dominance. It would be as ridiculous as amputating a patient’s “head” rather than their gangrenous toe to take this course of action.

                As for not hosting a Bledisloe in Perth – “GREAT” ! They should be exclusively in Syd & Brisbane.
                As for these ‘grass roots’ – let us know when you actually start to produce players worthy of a test contract. You’ve been dining out at the expense of vital funding for East Coast juniors and now the code is broke.

                Stop being so selfish and entitled – get behind the code in your state and earn the right for a seat at the table in 10 years or so.

              • Roar Rookie

                April 18th 2017 @ 6:00pm
                piru said | April 18th 2017 @ 6:00pm | ! Report

                Oh look

                Rebellion did his very clever changing Force to Farce joke again

                Hi larious

          • April 30th 2017 @ 8:46pm
            andrewM said | April 30th 2017 @ 8:46pm | ! Report

            Why not Rebellion? South Africa are. Regardless if a particular team is even under the microscope, at least they are trying to run an open and accountable process.

            ‘Selfish’, “‘NSW’ and ‘QLD’ is rugby union in this country”. Your myopic thinking is why Rugby in Australia is such a distant fourth. Could you imagine if the AFL had thought along the same arrogant lines as you? Thankfully (for Aussie Rules) they didn’t and look where they are today.

      • April 18th 2017 @ 12:47pm
        Hertryk said | April 18th 2017 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

        Julie I too am a passionate Force fan, and they won’t keep me either.. The epic work done with Grassroots, and the Own the Force campaign has been very successful. We are more financially sound than the Brumbies who have been leeching funds for years.. We have done the best we can with the little we have been given..which made the wins agains the Eastern States teams even more sweeter..as Jodi Hodgson so eloquently described …We have 4 big names now backing us according to a RugbyWA report yesterday… We are certainy not going down without one heck of a fight..

      • April 20th 2017 @ 1:06am
        Hannes said | April 20th 2017 @ 1:06am | ! Report

        I agree with Julie. If the Force is sacked me and my family are finished with rugby. My family and I bought shares in Own the Force and have been diamond members for years. The total disrespect for the rugby supporters and unfairness in the selection process will push me over the edge to rather follow AFL where I can see live games in Perth. Even if the Force is included later, I had enough. A merger with the Rebels is stupid and will not connect with local supporters that has been galvanised by the ARUs incompetence! The ARU can change their mind but painted themselves into a corner!

    • April 17th 2017 @ 7:46am
      hog said | April 17th 2017 @ 7:46am | ! Report

      What a magnificent thing Super rugby has been for the code here, after 20 years look at the pinnacles the game has reached, and how the other codes tremble at the thought of our sheer presence.

      We are now paying for the folly of borrowing monies to pay wages the code here could not afford, but was insisted by its pay masters.

      And the future Wallabies, well most kids will tell you “isn’t that some sort of small kangaroo”.

        • Roar Guru

          April 17th 2017 @ 10:38am
          sheek said | April 17th 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report


          I read Cockerill’s article. He mentions the discredited Roy Morgan survey but otherwise I kinda agreed with his summation of rugby officialdom.

          • April 17th 2017 @ 11:14am
            Train Without A Station said | April 17th 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

            But isn’t it also dependant on the A-League thriving, something which is yet to happen?

            • April 18th 2017 @ 12:01am
              Lesterlike said | April 18th 2017 @ 12:01am | ! Report

              The A-League will have twice as many proffesional Australian teams as the ARU next year.

              In 5-10 years it will probably have 12-16 teams whilst Australian rugby languishes with just 4.

              The FFA might be consistently incompetent but it’s local proffesional systems future is far brighter than any of the ARU’s equivalents because they didn’t just take the easy route of a multi national league like they could have.

              • April 18th 2017 @ 3:19am
                Midfielder said | April 18th 2017 @ 3:19am | ! Report

                Bit tough on FFA, they certainly have issues right now… but its about the speed of expansion and power sharing…

                From nothing to a somewhere between 130 to 140 million annual income and 12 teams more than likely growing to 16 teams within 5 to 6 years is hardly inept.

                Moreover it shows when a fan base and a media demand their governing bodies do more rather than sit back in a glow of “how good are we”” things tend to get done.

              • April 18th 2017 @ 3:29am
                Midfielder said | April 18th 2017 @ 3:29am | ! Report

                Tad tough on FFA, they have their issues now but its about the speeded of expansion and power sharing with other stake holders.

                Shows IMO what a fan base and media can do when holding their governing body to account rather than sit on “how great we are”

                If the ARU had achieved what FFA have they would be sitting back patting themselves on the back.

              • Roar Guru

                April 18th 2017 @ 10:08am
                Train Without A Station said | April 18th 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

                It can have as many as it likes.

                But even with FTA and no competition it doesn’t attract huge viewer numbers. In fact until this season they were nothing for rugby to be envious of.

              • April 18th 2017 @ 10:37am
                Lesterlike said | April 18th 2017 @ 10:37am | ! Report

                Guess 10 proffesional pathways and greater range of local exposure in the country means nothing to an ARU apologist.

              • Roar Guru

                April 18th 2017 @ 11:12am
                Train Without A Station said | April 18th 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

                You can call me an ARU apologist all you like.

                But I’ve looked at all the financial reports. Have you?

                I know where the players are coming from. Do you?

                I know where all the Australian developed players are playing. Do you?

                I’ve looked at all these things and have formed my view based on them.

                Having 10 teams does not mean the A-League is successful. How financially viable are these teams, how much revenue does the game bring in?

                Australian rugby would absolutely be better served having 10 teams from a performance and footprint point of view.

                If Australian rugby goes broke though, there will be zero pathways.

                That’s what you people refuse to acknowledge. Cutting teams is terrible. Going broke is Armageddon.

              • April 18th 2017 @ 12:05pm
                concerned supporter said | April 18th 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

                You say ”
                Going broke is Armageddon.”
                I think it may be a blessing.
                A fresh start, a new model for Australian Rugby, a new Constitution.
                Read earlier postings from Rugby Tragic.
                After all the ARU has got bugger all in Assets, maybe just enough to pay their liabilities.
                What Goodwill does the current ARU set up have?
                It would be similar to an ASX Company takeover.

              • Roar Guru

                April 18th 2017 @ 12:16pm
                Train Without A Station said | April 18th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

                It’s a blessing if you think we will just start again from where we are.

                All professional players and coaches will rush overseas for contracts.

                There will be no rugby on TV. If the Wallabies remain and are on TV they will be either thrown together from those players who are willing to, or full of amateurs and win now games.

                All the DO’s stop working. Game on stops getting rolled out to kids. More of them go and play AFL and Soccer who continue to do this.

                We could conceivably lose a generation of potential fans. If you think the results of the Roy Morgan survey said things were bad, see how this pans out.

                Then of course with no ARU and the Super teams broke the whole rep structure falls apart. There’s no Aus 20s, etc. What are up and coming stars now aspiring for? More sign with League.

                Unless what? a heap of people put money in?

                If we had people willing to spend money on Rugby, Shute Shield clubs would have wealthy benefactors and the Super Rugby franchises would be doing well financially.

              • April 18th 2017 @ 12:32pm
                concerned supporter said | April 18th 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

                You are out of control.Nothing would intrinsically change, except that Australian Rugby would be managed more efficiently, and with more capital.No need for panic.
                Take over should be fairly seamless.
                PS: If you are not being paid by theARU, you certainly should be.

              • Roar Guru

                April 18th 2017 @ 12:48pm
                Train Without A Station said | April 18th 2017 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

                So none of those things would happen?

                Where would the money come from to pay for anything?

              • April 18th 2017 @ 1:10pm
                concerned supporter said | April 18th 2017 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

                Where would the money come from?
                Read Rugby Tragic’s earlier post.There would only be AUD $ 6 Million required to equal today’s ARU Balance Sheet.
                Hasn’t WA in less than a week raised AUD $ 8 Million + the Garry Flower and others Announcement today.
                This is Australian Rugby, friends in high financial places.

              • Roar Guru

                April 18th 2017 @ 1:15pm
                Train Without A Station said | April 18th 2017 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

                Their asset balance isn’t the only value and in fact a very small part.

                All the revenue which goes to pay these people is tied into contracts and agreements with the ARU that would be void if the ARU folded.

                How much is a renegotiated TV deal worth if all the best players leave before it’s sorted?

                The ARU has annual liabilities in order to run everything in the game of around $120M.

                Where’s that money coming from?

          • April 17th 2017 @ 11:28am
            hog said | April 17th 2017 @ 11:28am | ! Report

            Hi Sheek,

            ” By worshipping on the altar of commercialism since the game turned professional, they’ve sacrificed their identity, their constituency, and ultimately their participation”.

            To me that said a lot.

            • April 17th 2017 @ 11:57am
              Crazy Horse said | April 17th 2017 @ 11:57am | ! Report


            • April 17th 2017 @ 12:22pm
              Train Without A Station said | April 17th 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

              What successful sport has not done that?

              • Roar Rookie

                April 17th 2017 @ 12:41pm
                Dave_S said | April 17th 2017 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

                Exactly, the ARU has no choice but to play the same commercial game as their larger competitors, being NH rugby and the NRL. Reverting to 15 or whatever years ago just means Aust becomes a feeder comp for them.

              • April 17th 2017 @ 1:04pm
                hog said | April 17th 2017 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

                There are always choices.

              • April 17th 2017 @ 1:10pm
                Train Without A Station said | April 17th 2017 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

                And the choice is to not do what all successful sports have done.

                I guess we could have stayed amateur. I’m sure a yearly series with Cyprus would be popular…

              • Roar Rookie

                April 17th 2017 @ 2:04pm
                Dave_S said | April 17th 2017 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

                I’m talking about sensible, viable choices.

              • Roar Guru

                April 17th 2017 @ 1:07pm
                sheek said | April 17th 2017 @ 1:07pm | ! Report


                “There are always choices”.

                Agree. Well mostly, & certainly in this instance.

              • April 17th 2017 @ 1:11pm
                Train Without A Station said | April 17th 2017 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

                There’s always choices.

                It just appears none of them were very good.

      • April 17th 2017 @ 11:19am
        Train Without A Station said | April 17th 2017 @ 11:19am | ! Report

        Super Rugby has been the ultimate catch 22.

        Great for the nations involved and resulted in them consistently being the top 3 teams in the world, with only England outside them ever consistently making that group.

        But that strength has been its greatest weakness.

        Super Rugby has been run to benefit the national times, which is why it is now a commercial concern.

        But what’s the alternative? Take power away from the national unions and give it to the franchises and have Super Rugby run by them, and often at the expense of the national team and we potentially end up like France.

        The independence of the clubs is the reason why despite their vast resources, England have not been consistently the best.

        If we went back it did it all again going this path, is there any guarantee we wouldn’t also regret where the were?

        I don’t mean to say it’s either all one way, or all the other way, but it’s hard to achieve any middle ground here. Either power rests with the nation, or the franchises. Even if the nations has a vote, they’d be easily outvoted.

        • April 17th 2017 @ 11:43am
          hog said | April 17th 2017 @ 11:43am | ! Report

          And that is it. We all know that Super rugby was all about the Wallabies, and yes what a good job it has done. We have managed to remain in the top 3 teams in the world after 20 years of it.

          As you say the ultimate catch 22, why then in 2017 does that achievement feel rather hollow.

        • Roar Rookie

          April 17th 2017 @ 12:46pm
          Dave_S said | April 17th 2017 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

          “But what’s the alternative? Take power away from the national unions and give it to the franchises and have Super Rugby run by them …”

          And that would likely have been a whole other kind of car crash

          • April 17th 2017 @ 1:05pm
            hog said | April 17th 2017 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

            Well then maybe a balance between the two could avoid all those car crahes

            • April 17th 2017 @ 1:11pm
              Train Without A Station said | April 17th 2017 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

              But how?

              The power has to rest with somebody or the alternative was continual gridlock.

              Again another car crash.

              The RFU have just now got this right. Based on granting tens of millions annually to the clubs.

              • April 17th 2017 @ 2:33pm
                Jock Cornet said | April 17th 2017 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

                You’ve been saying for years TWAS that the ARU has been doing everything brilliantly . Super rugby was fantastic the ARU academies were sensational, don’t bother about player or clubs just keep paying overs for any player that has a bit of talent. King of the status quo / king ostrich -TWAS

              • April 17th 2017 @ 2:46pm
                Train Without A Station said | April 17th 2017 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

                I’ve never said any of that.

                Where are these academies YOU continually talk about?

              • Roar Pro

                April 17th 2017 @ 3:13pm
                Crazy Horse said | April 17th 2017 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

                One of them is run by RugbyWA and is the one now churning out Super Rugby players and starting to produce Wallabies.

              • April 17th 2017 @ 6:28pm
                Train Without A Station said | April 17th 2017 @ 6:28pm | ! Report

                Starting to?

                The Future Force program is yet to produce one.

              • Roar Pro

                April 17th 2017 @ 7:03pm
                Crazy Horse said | April 17th 2017 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

                Richard Hardwick is one, currently in the Wallabies camp. Harry Scoble another youngster you’ll here more of when old man Moore retires.

              • April 17th 2017 @ 7:11pm
                Train Without A Station said | April 17th 2017 @ 7:11pm | ! Report

                So not a single rep, or even Wallaby squad member…

                We might hear more of Harry Scoble. We will also likely hear more of James Hanson, Tolu Latu and Andrew Ready too tough…

              • April 17th 2017 @ 8:33pm
                scottd said | April 17th 2017 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

                Actually there was an academy at the Force originally but the ARU decided to move it to the east coast. The Force then reestablished their own academy about 3-4 years ago. A number of the original Force academy players relocated with the original academy and are now playing for other SR franchises. The “pulling of the rug” from the WA academy is one of the reasons Force supporters doubt that the ARU has ever wanted the Force to succeed “too much’.

                Chance Peni was one of the original development players for the Force before going to League about the same time the ARU decided to axe/move the original academy. I’m not sure that the move was linked. He is certainly in Cheeks WB frame now. I think Ryan Lowrens was also an academy product and he was also a WB prospect before his injury 10 days ago.

                Your negative comments about the Force academy are a bit of a mystery to me and I’m not sure why you are taking that line. The point that people are trying to make is that the Force have developed a very good academy model (without ARU support) that is designed to get young players from being good club material to being ready for Super Rugby. It is working well and a number of the current Force squad (and some players in other squads) have come through that system. This is one of the reason that there are a dozen or so “home grown” players in the squad. Getting more players to the level of Super Rugby is the precursor to improving the performance of Australia SR teams and improving the national squad. And before you say “so what” I’d just say that the current debate in Australia is that there isn’t the depth of players in Australia necessary to carry 5 teams. Clearly academies are one way to address this.

                Given that the Future Force Academy is now effectively pumping out solid SR players now I think it deserves a bit more than the dismissive type of comment you’ve just made

              • April 17th 2017 @ 9:13pm
                Train Without A Station said | April 17th 2017 @ 9:13pm | ! Report

                What WA player relocated?

                I’ve looked through the backgrounds of every SR player.

                I think there are 4 in total WA products playing at other teams.

                All of which left for a full time

              • April 20th 2017 @ 1:29am
                Hannes said | April 20th 2017 @ 1:29am | ! Report

                Is DHP a home grown Wallaby? Did the Force not produced several players that the Easten States ignored that became Wallabies. It took time to improve the quality of the local club competition so that players can step up to a level where club players helped the to win the Aussie provincial competition last year (e.g. The player of the final, Richard Hardwick, was playing under 9s when the Force was established) and where club players can step up from the club competition to represent the Force. The club competition is now delivering solid Superugby players and some of them already stepped up for higher hunours e.g. Aus schools, Aus under 20s and will surely end up with the Wallabies. Cutting the Force now will undo more than a decade of hard work.
                In 2005 I coached an under 9 club team and had excactly 15 players to choose from with no props. In 2006 when the Force started the players doubled and we could select a muvh better team. This is the kind of impact the Force has at grassroots level in WA. Canning the Force is stupid from a grassroots rugby perspective and will not allow rugby to develop a national footprint. WA youngsters will just play other sports.

              • April 20th 2017 @ 6:33pm
                ScottD said | April 20th 2017 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

                Good post Hannes

        • April 17th 2017 @ 3:57pm
          Jim Donken said | April 17th 2017 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

          From an outsider looking in TWAS, it seems that the franchises are in fact acting like independent entities certainly from a management and organisational point of view. I mean, to what extent were the ARU involved with the Force selling shares in the franchise to players and supporters, did the ARU agree (and should it have that veto right) to signing the 30 year lease at their new training facility and where were the ARU in the whole Michael Jones saga? From a coaching stand point, Cheika and indeed Mckenzie I feel, have really tried to bring the top Aussie and development players together to buy into their style of rubgy. It’s a shame that the ARU haven’t provided enough direction and done the same with the management at each franchise.

          • April 17th 2017 @ 4:10pm
            Train Without A Station said | April 17th 2017 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

            I only mean the direction of Super Rugby.

            The national unions are the stakeholders of SANZAAR rather than the franchises.

            • April 17th 2017 @ 7:40pm
              concerned supporter said | April 17th 2017 @ 7:40pm | ! Report

              The stakeholders are Note: Voting Stakeholders, 11
              1/ ACT + Southern NSW
              2/ NSW Rugby
              3/ Northern Territory R U
              4/ QRU
              5/SA Rugby
              6/ TAS RU
              7/Victorian Rugby
              8/Melbourne Rebels
              9/Rugby WA
              10/NSW Waratahs
              11/ RUPA
              Memo TWAS: Please stick to the facts. Less deviation required.

              • April 17th 2017 @ 8:04pm
                Train Without A Station said | April 17th 2017 @ 8:04pm | ! Report

                The national unions are stakeholders of SANZAAR rather than the individual franchises.

                What you said has nothing to do with SANZAAR.

                Stick to what I say. Not making up statements to respond to.

        • April 17th 2017 @ 4:10pm
          Rugby Tragic said | April 17th 2017 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

          … ” ..Even if the nations has a vote, they’d be easily outvoted.” …

          Not necessarily.

          Rather than slash and burn, look at other options …is there no other option? … here’s one.

          A complete restructuring of the business.


          Set up a new corporation to own and run Rugby in Australia

          Prepare for an IPO (Initial Public Offering)

          – Have a single ‘A’ Class Share owned by ALL the State Unions to prevent the code being ‘taken over’ by the Murdoch’s, the Packer’s or mercenaries. Ownership of that “A” Class share to be administered by a board of trustees representing the various unions.

          – Have a skelton board ‘in caretaker mode’ while a new Charter is prepared and agreed upon by the trustees to run the code from grass roots up. And its Ok to copy successful operations from overseas, no need to reinvent the wheel.

          – Offer bundles of 1,000 ordinary class (partly paid shares to make it affordable), minimum parcel, thereafter in multiples of same number) at an issue price of $1 each, partly paid over a 3 year period, (limits liability of the shareholders)


          – Each share bundle taken up to include a loan to new “ARU Limited” of $500 for a period of 5 years, interest bearing at the cash rate plus 2.5%, paid annually in arrears.

          – The loans classed as Subordinated Shareholder loans, subordinated to all but capital under “Shareholder Equity”. These loans may be converted to shares on maturity if desired by each shareholder if allowed for in the constitution. In this way it is carried in the balance sheet as ‘part of equity’ ranking below any financier (if more funds required)


          – Each ordinary share to carry one vote (casting vote held by holders of A Class share).

          – Board of Directors selected from a list of nominees and voted on.

          – CEO Salary capped and transparent but don’t have to pay ridiculously high salaries in itself, there are capable people out there who will willing head the organisation for salary of say $400,000 per year (or less) as the person the company seeks is a true rugby man who’s first interest is the code.

          – All expenditure to be approved by a finance committee which should include an independent entity such as KPMG or Price Waterhouse Coopers (one other than auditor) to ratify cash flow for a contract fee. Revenue expenditure not to exceed income.

          – Leveraging of funding with only permitted on non-current tangible assets. Sinking funds established to replace such assets.

          – The carrying value of any non-tangible asset is to be ratified as to its notional value

          – Shares offered to firstly the Rugby community in Australia

          – Members of a public company would normally expect to receive dividends, however the company should be structured to be ‘a non-profit entity’ with rewards to shareholding being non- transferable discount to tickets for all sanctions ARU matches in Australia.

          – If the company were to attract the equivalent of investors taking on up say, 20,000 minimum parcel, that would capitalise the entity who would receive $30 million dollars of which immediately $20 million is equity the balance as a Subordinated Shareholder loan.

          Yeah it would need fine tuning but as I see it, an option to consider rather than merely to axe a franchise.

          There will be many who will want to burn the suggestion – so be it.

          • April 17th 2017 @ 7:44pm
            concerned supporter said | April 17th 2017 @ 7:44pm | ! Report

            Rugby Tragic,
            Now we are getting somewhere.

            • April 17th 2017 @ 8:13pm
              Rugby Tragic said | April 17th 2017 @ 8:13pm | ! Report

              Well a bit of idealism but everyone keeps talking about money, and money only. This is a sporting code with cultural and social responsibilities as well as the ‘corporate responsibility of staying solvent.

              In business, if funding is needed for expansion or survival, what happens? Firstly they look to borrow, or look to strengthen their balance sheet by raising equity. Cameron Clyne is an ex banker… he knows that, so why is he preferring to alienate the code from a whole State?.

              Look what the Force has done. In one week about 3,000 have applied for shares. Surely there would be 20,000 nationally who would look at a national entity, particularly on partly paid shares with calls coming annually up to the limit of $1.00 per share.

              With the Subordinated Loan as well even if every applicant only applied for a single parcel, that would capitalise the company to $30,000,000 – enough? (about 6 times the net worth at book value of the ARU as at Financial year 2016), if not release a few more shares. That’s what happened in Cameron Clyne’s previous world ..

              Money should not be the over-ruling factor in this. Its not a financial model as such but just an attempt to show there are option, though it could be a blue print for someone to expand on.

              • April 17th 2017 @ 8:26pm
                concerned supporter said | April 17th 2017 @ 8:26pm | ! Report

                Rugby Tragic,
                Maybe your common sense & intelligent suggestions may assist our mate TWAS in pulling his head out of the sand and taking notice,.

              • April 17th 2017 @ 8:55pm
                Rugby Tragic said | April 17th 2017 @ 8:55pm | ! Report

                Haha! … no but I admire his tenacity ….. right or wrong … perhaps he is a relative of someone in the ARU? He seems to be defending every assertion of others if it does not match with the ARU’s agenda.

              • April 17th 2017 @ 9:23pm
                concerned supporter said | April 17th 2017 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

                Rugby Tragic,
                At the moment there is not much harmony in A- League Soccer (Football)
                There is a pretty smart bloke on their tab who goes by the name “Nemesis”.
                He is a bit like TWAS, he spends a lot of time defending soccer(football) from attacks by AFL people.
                He has recently written an article on the Roar with his ideas for reform in A-League soccer (football).
                Certain ideas and points in his article may be applicable to Rugby in Australia.
                Anyway links to his article are: It is worth a read.

              • April 18th 2017 @ 9:03am
                Rugby Tragic said | April 18th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

                CS, thanks for that, had a read, interesting.

                The are several models that can be ‘investigated’. Privatisation is another but that wouldn’t be at the top of my list. Sport is I believe a cultural and emotional activity, it does not follow your usual commercial outcomes which is why I would suggest an independent body review financial commitments. That takes away the emotional ‘ad hoc’ means of applying available funds.

                The thing that peeves me is that the sole emphasis is about money with no option put up by the ARU other than slash a franchise, when I believe that if that was the sole problem there are solutions. There are comments being bandied that if there is no changes the ARU could be bankrupt …. but they have not or will not consider funding avenues. They could be debt free as they were post 2003 is they took their blinkers off.

                Obviously is not palatable to the existing administration yet I am of the opinion that this is not going to end well for any party if they keep running towards the edge of the cliff.

                Reported this morning by Jami Pandaram of The Daily Telegraph were personnel throwing their weight behind ‘saving the Force’ with one prepared to pledge $50 mill alone over 10 years subject to striking a deal with the WA Govt. …

                I cannot be convinced that funding is not available if a lack of funds were the only issue but required would a competent administration which I do not believe exists with the current ‘decision makers’

            • April 18th 2017 @ 9:14am
              Rugby Tragic said | April 18th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

              Incidentally, the same article this morning claims the “Own the Force” campaign has pledges already of $8 million after barely a week. That is more that the book net worth of the ARU in 2016 of > $6 mil .. even allowing for those who might renege, this is significant as we are referring to WA alone here.

              • April 20th 2017 @ 7:04pm
                ScottD said | April 20th 2017 @ 7:04pm | ! Report

                Yeah, although my wife told me that the CEO stated on the radio on Tuesday that the real number was $3-$4m actually in the bank so I am a bit dubious of the $8m number unless that was the initial pledges.

          • April 17th 2017 @ 9:14pm
            Train Without A Station said | April 17th 2017 @ 9:14pm | ! Report

            None of which addresses the issue i highlighted.

            • April 18th 2017 @ 10:21am
              Rt said | April 18th 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

              There are a few issues surrounding listing the ARU as a NFP. Further the current administration may not enjoy the pre IPO due diligence procedure.

              But for the sake of argument let’s say you did go down an IPO path I would suggest the Cap raise would need to be significantly higher. If you agreed there are probably 200,000 die hard rugby fans in Oz who generally have a bit of coin then I would propose you seek to raise more like $300m.

              With that kind of dough you could completely restructure and centralise rugby and its income stream.

              You get but hard assets And seek vertical integration so you owned your whole production chain.

              The problem is the current admin would be kicked to the curb. Who takes over? Who nominates the people to be selected?

              The problem with institutions that have a broad base of stakeholders is that they end up being opaque and answerable to no one. Further it is in the best interests of those in charge to sew distrust between the stakeholders (in this case the various state unions). Keep them at each other’s throats.

              The truth is that with significant investment and long term planning the income streams for rugby could be widened and increased to such an extent that the capital value (market cap) of the ARU as a listed entity could be enormous.

      • April 18th 2017 @ 2:44pm
        A veteran of Vic rugby said | April 18th 2017 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

        Will there be any future Wallabies coming out of WA when many of the players in the local club competition are being brought in from overseas? I’m also stunned at how local clubs can afford to pay players to do that or has the ARU actually been unfairly propping up WA Rugby more than realised for years?

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