“Absolute disgrace”: Rebels coach slams ARU

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    Melbourne Rebels assistant coach Morgan Turinui has blasted the Australian Rugby Union’s drawn-out handling of changes to the Super Rugby competition as an “absolute disgrace”.

    The former Wallaby also unloaded on the Rugby Union Players Association, saying it has gone missing when it should be a voice for the players.

    Turinui says some of the Rebels are suffering mental health issues because of the stress caused by the uncertainty of their playing future.

    Melbourne or the Western Force will be axed in a downsized Super Rugby competition but the ARU hasn’t set a date for a decision.

    The Rebels initially believed they were safe as the only privately-owned franchise.

    But in recent weeks speculation has ramped up they will be the club to go.

    Turinui said they had been given an assurance by owner Andrew Cox they were safe and he still believed that nothing had changed and was frustrated by the destabilising rumours about the club.

    “Andrew Cox a bit over a month ago stood in the middle of the field with all players and all staff and told us we are 100 per cent safe, no matter what we hear or read,” Turinui said.

    “He said he’d never sell this club to have it closed down.

    “On the back of that we beat the Brumbies but then the rumours came back and the players have been dealing with it and it’s just debilitating for them.”

    Turinui said players couldn’t renew leases or enrol children at school while there was also the financial impact for all at club including staff that they could be jobless.

    “How the ARU is handling it is an absolute disgrace,” Turinui said.

    “We have genuine issues and worries with our players and we’ve been pretty focused that their well-being is paramount and this has made that situation really hard for our guys.

    “The ARU are putting them in a situation that puts them under extreme stress; it’s not acceptable.”

    With the Rebels pursuing their legal options against the ARU, Cox said on Tuesday he was unable to comment and he just wanted to players to try to concentrate on Sunday’s game against the Waratahs.

    Cox has been heartened by the support of the Victorian government, which has gone into bat to save the Melbourne club.

    A former board member of RUPA, Turinui said it needed to do more to represent the players.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (79)

    • May 17th 2017 @ 2:07am
      Jock Cornet said | May 17th 2017 @ 2:07am | ! Report

      Yeah they should have told them their results are not professional and you are now going to get the axe as you could not even beat qld at home. Go the Force as they are showing heart and want to stay, these rebels are just so called professionals from Sydney having an amateur go. The tahs will put them to the sword.

      • May 17th 2017 @ 6:33pm
        Rebellion said | May 17th 2017 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

        Problem with the Force is they have been disgraceful for their entire existence which is twice as long as what has been afforded to the Rebels.
        Their results this year don’t look as bad as they normally do because the Australian conference player pool is stretched too far affecting all teams. The Force are the only franchise with one direction to go as basement permanent residents.
        I feel sorry for the Rebels as until this season they had been on an upward trajectory and were playing more exciting rugby than the stodgy, spoiling Force are renouned for.
        Hopefully the ARU have the good sense to ditch WA as Perth Test matches against the Boks always seem to negate our home advantage and Perth is an AFL town without the broad niche markets that Melbourne can cater for.
        Keeping the Force is a lose-lose scenario.

        • Roar Rookie

          May 17th 2017 @ 7:00pm
          piru said | May 17th 2017 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

          yessss…. feel the Force….

          let the hate flow through you…..

          • Roar Guru

            May 18th 2017 @ 11:23am
            Timbo (L) said | May 18th 2017 @ 11:23am | ! Report

            Nice one Piru.
            I still chuckle at people who think the choice will be based on on field performance.
            If it were, the Sunwolves wouldn’t have been invited back. and the Tah’s would be browning their trousers.

            It is all about ratings and expenses, Nothing more, Nothing less.
            Neither the Force nor the Rebels are in the black on this, and in my opinion axing either isn’t going to solve the problem. The remaining side will be gone 2 years later.
            To quote superman’s dad and the adopted Wallabies Slogan, “Stronger as one!”

    • May 17th 2017 @ 3:37am
      Bakkies said | May 17th 2017 @ 3:37am | ! Report

      ‘The former Wallaby also unloaded on the Rugby Union Players Association, saying it has gone missing when it should be a voice for the players.

      RUPA would fill their boots when the CBA comes up for renewal at the end of the year.

    • May 17th 2017 @ 5:08am
      Milan said | May 17th 2017 @ 5:08am | ! Report

      The force have been dreadful for years playing the most turgid rugby. A few half decent performances (they are 3 and 7 in case you had forgotten) and people like jock cornet getting more excited than Wayne Rooney in a brothel. Despite all the so called magnificent support to save them and the massive South African expat community, breaking an 9,000 attendance is a cause for celebration. The rebels are inevitably on the way out and you will all be happy but I have a feeling that decision will come back to bite you on the backside

      • Roar Rookie

        May 17th 2017 @ 11:02am
        piru said | May 17th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

        Milan, just don’t

        Yes the Force are 3 and 7
        The Rebels are 1,1 and 8

        Crowd attendances, as has been exhaustively investigated here are about even across the board.

        If you wanted to be pedantic, you could argue that Perth is a city of 2 million, Melbourne 4.5 million – if support was of a similar percentage you’d expect Melbourne crowds to be double that of Perth on average.

        I, however don’t want to be pedantic, and would note that a while back I logged on to ticketmaster to compare prices for games and noticed the Rebels tickets had the ‘Almost sold out’ flag appearing – however on game day the stadium was less than half full.

        Has anyone else come across this?
        Was it a glitch or something dodgy going on?

        • May 17th 2017 @ 6:20pm
          milan said | May 17th 2017 @ 6:20pm | ! Report


          I do want to say that I am not an advocate of any teams being culled. I guess that I have some frustration that the force were earmarked but now seemingly because they have shouted a lot louder (sadly those that shout louder in life tend to get what they want) than the rebels, it is now the rebels who will be saying goodbye. Maybe a slightly simplistic view but that’s how I see it when if you look at attendances and performances and junior development over a period of time (and not just half a super rubgy season) then what is to choose between them. In fact rebels crowds and perfomances have been better than the force over a 5 year period.

          • Roar Rookie

            May 17th 2017 @ 7:01pm
            piru said | May 17th 2017 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

            those that shout louder in life tend to get what they want

            I agree 100%, and it’s not fair, however the question has to be asked

            Why are the Rebels faithful not making more noise?

            • May 17th 2017 @ 11:19pm
              milan said | May 17th 2017 @ 11:19pm | ! Report

              Piru, maybe because they thought they were safe. I think everybody did. There seems to be a lot more coming out now it looks like they are gonners. All very sad really but on the other hand we have seen big companies throughout the world contract in different sectors. I work for a bank which has seen hundreds of branch closures because we have been losing money hand over fist. Maybe it is a case of taking 2 steps back to take 3 forward but it wont make the pain any easier to take.

          • May 17th 2017 @ 10:09pm
            ScottD said | May 17th 2017 @ 10:09pm | ! Report

            The difference is that the Force have done something to turn their fortunes around after some setbacks (think Firestone and Richard Graham and ARU removing funding to all local academies except those in the east coast) and that the Rebels had special dispensations for overseas players for several years that weren’t given to the Force mate.

            It is only for the last couple of years that the Force and the Rebels have been on an even playing field -which is why the WA guys get so grumpy on this forum.

            We are now seeing the real differential between Rebels/Force that the ARU artificially held at bay through the circa $15-20 million that they have pumped into Rebels (vs $4.5M for the Force which the Force have offered to repay) over their life.

            The Force were the first expansion franchise and there was a reason for that. As far as I can see, that reason is still as valid today as it was when they made the original decision in 2014.

            • May 17th 2017 @ 11:24pm
              milan said | May 17th 2017 @ 11:24pm | ! Report

              Scott, I take your word as your bond with regards to those figures.

              Remember though the rebels have barely been around really when you think about it. There are pros and cons for both teams to stay and go.

              As useless as the ARU are at times, I am sure that they have not come to this decision (culling a team) without it being the only realistic option in their eyes (in terms of moving Australian rugby forward).

              So bye bye rebels it is. We’ll forgive you for slamming the door behind you

              • May 18th 2017 @ 8:17am
                Browny said | May 18th 2017 @ 8:17am | ! Report

                I guess there’s the argument of the main reason why a team is going to be axed; financial sustainability of the game by reducing SR running costs which allows the savings to be redistributed into grassroots. They were originally speculating that $6M would be saved and directed around the country for this. But what if the actual cost of removing a team is much higher? The rumoured ‘buyout’ cost has gone from $4.75M to $6M and is now up around $9M. At what point does it become cutting a team become too expensive? Especially if their respective governments (plus Own The Force, Elsom, etc) are going to support their respective clubs as they are alluding to. It’s an interesting situation. I’m really curious to see what comes out of this upcoming EGM… will we see five teams and the heads of Pulver & Clyne or something much less impressive?…

      • May 17th 2017 @ 11:04am
        Bakkies said | May 17th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

        South Sydney had about 40,000 plus in the street and 8,000 in the stands while fighting for survival. Guess what they did survive

        • Roar Rookie

          May 17th 2017 @ 11:10am
          piru said | May 17th 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

          We need Russell Crowe to buy us

          • Roar Rookie

            May 17th 2017 @ 12:06pm
            Dave_S said | May 17th 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

            Maybe Liam Hemsworth? Not a bad fit I reckon and the kid has some serious coin to play with.

            • Roar Rookie

              May 17th 2017 @ 1:05pm
              piru said | May 17th 2017 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

              Surely we can get Chris at least?

              • May 17th 2017 @ 7:00pm
                Rebellion said | May 17th 2017 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

                You need a fan base made up of true supporters who are more interested in the team than their ability to draw the Waikato Chiefs or Western Stormers for a home game.

                The advent of the Force was shortsighted and based on the resources boom at the time.

                This has fizzled out and so will any chance of meaningful growth for the next 25 years or so when there are jobs for everyone and their friends again (for a 3-4 year period)

              • May 17th 2017 @ 9:16pm
                Bakkies said | May 17th 2017 @ 9:16pm | ! Report

                Rabblelion, the Force supporters are putting their money where the mouth’s are. The Rebels in comparison have a sugar daddy who still relies on ARU funding.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 18th 2017 @ 11:22am
                piru said | May 18th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

                Oh look rebellion has something negative to say about the Force

                didn’t see that coming

    • May 17th 2017 @ 5:12am
      Rhys Bosley said | May 17th 2017 @ 5:12am | ! Report

      You are missing the point. All these guys are used to performance based contracts, professional sport is far more ruthless a contracting environment than most employees face. What Turinui is complaining that the ARU has stuffed around for so long that it is hard for the players to plan their next move. The overseas clubs are recruiting now so the guys don’t know whether to take up an offer and have to leave their team, which may then survive anyway, or stay and hope their team is the one that stays. That is the source of stress, they don’t just stand to lose thier jobs but their entire careers could be stuffed up by ARSu incompetence.

      • May 17th 2017 @ 11:02am
        Bakkies said | May 17th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

        ‘ The overseas clubs are recruiting now so the guys don’t know whether to take up an offer and have to leave their team, which may then survive anyway, or stay and hope their team is the one that stays. ‘

        Everyone of them suffers from mental issues and due to the differing school years north and south of the equator they have to think about that too.

    • May 17th 2017 @ 6:04am
      SamSport said | May 17th 2017 @ 6:04am | ! Report

      What are the chances any of the Australian coaches and players come out and admit they have some responsibility for the state of Australian rugby? Poor performances across the board means fans don’t want to watch them play. That’s a cold hard fact. Denial and continuing on as before will not help things. Worry about the things you can control Turinui, like whether your team puts in a performance people will pay money to see this weekend — that’s the whole point of being a professional sports team.

    • May 17th 2017 @ 6:15am
      AlBo said | May 17th 2017 @ 6:15am | ! Report

      That might be one of the most short sighted and unfair comments I’ve read on the Roar to date. And that’s saying something. Unbelievable.

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