Reading recent comments regarding Rugby Australia and Hamish McLennan, I couldn’t help but draw some parallels with what Hamish McLennan and RA have accomplished over the last three years and what the Romans had provided for the Jews in the movie Life of Brian.
No doubt 99% of readers will recall the scene in the movie Life of Brian, where the indomitable leader of the People’s Front of Judaea, Stan, was trying to motivate his charges to take on the Romans.
Stan’s pitch was that the Romans had done nothing for the Jews and they would be better off without them. What follows from the gathered throng is list of what the Romans have done and how much better off their lives actually are, don’t forget the wine.
When Hamish McLennan and Rob Clarke took over RA, they were left with an organisation that was pretty much a basket case thanks to previous administration and coaching, Raelene Castle excepted.
I think their accomplishments warrant recognition.
We are all aware of the obstacles that they had to overcome just to keep the game alive. Through their work we had a domestic Super Rugby comp with one game a week on free-to-air TV.
The broadcast deal now has grown to three Australian rugby shows a week, including a club-specific show.
There are live telecasts of the six Super Rugby Pacific games, all of the Brisbane and Sydney club games and the match of the round out of Perth.
There is the reintroduction of a truly national footprint with the Western Force being invited back into Super Rugby and the player and supporter flow-on from that.
There is a greater focus on First Nations people that has seen the anthem sung in a First Nation dialect by the players before a game, permanently having a First Nations presence on our Wallabies’ jumpers and retiring the Cook Cup and recognising our first First Nations captain Mark Ella on its replacement.
There is the retention of key Wallabies and future Wallabies, all done on a reduced budget.
There is the successful acquisition of both the Women’s Rugby World Cup and the Men’s Rugby World Cup, which will provide grassroots growth and funding, increased participation on all levels and greater support on all levels.
Lastly, there is Hamish McLennan’s drive to achieve the best outcome for Australian rugby and not take the first offer tabled if he believes he can achieve a better outcome for RA.
I can hear Stan saying, apart from all that, what has Hamish McLennan really done for Australian rugby?