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ARU review will help game get its mojo back

MONDAY MAUL

"If we want to be the best rugby nation in the world - not just at the elite level but also as a community game - we ...

"If we want to be the best rugby nation in the world - not just at the elite level but also as a community game - we can't circle the wagons" ... General Peter Cosgrove. Photo: AFR

An Australian Rugby Union corporate governance review is long overdue and an important step towards convincing all that the game's administration at the top end is actually professional and no longer suffering from the hangovers of the amateur era.

Prompted by government threats funding could be cut if the ARU stuck with its antiquated ways, General Peter Cosgrove and Mark Arbib, the former federal minister for sport, will head the review, which is expected to lead to a major overhaul, including a fully independent board and each state being on an equal footing.

As numerous sports, particularly Australian football, have transformed themselves through an independent commission, Australian rugby has been laughed at. For decades, NSW and Queensland have been the big brothers. At last week's annual meeting, NSW had five votes, Queensland three, while the other states and territories had one each.

NSW and Queensland also have a major say on the ARU's nine-man board, each having two representatives, while the other states have one.

Knowing their power base is under threat, NSW and Queensland will provide some resistance to this review but it was clear from Cosgrove's tone a few days ago they won't succeed.

''If we want to be the best rugby nation in the world- not just at the elite level but also as a community game - we can't circle the wagons. We've got to be as creative and energetic as we expect our players to be. This is not a time for old men in blazers to say: 'Not on my watch.' It's quite the reverse,'' Cosgrove said.

Ever so slowly, the leather patch blazer brigade, the alicadoos, are being hounded out of Australian rugby. So too the backroom politicking that has marred the game's development, often leading to the ARU and the major states being suspicious of each other and working in opposite directions.

The archaic voting system has even led to left-field candidates winning the Wallabies coaching position and others being ousted.

In 1988, Alan Jones was hopeful of holding onto the Wallabies job, as the NSW Rugby Union had instructed its five delegates to vote for him. However, one NSW delegate rebelled, casting his vote for Bob Dwyer. That was enough for Dwyer to win.

After the 1995 World Cup, Queensland coach John Connolly was highly favoured to replace Dwyer, as his record was far superior to the other two NSW candidates - Greg Smith and Chris Hawkins. However, the NSW delegates ensured Connolly had no chance.

John O'Neill, then about to join the ARU as its new chief executive, was at that delegates meeting and explained what happened in his biography, It's Only a Game. O'Neill had been told before the meeting Connolly was a ''shoo-in'' and that it was a ''done deal''.

When it was announced that Smith had won the vote, ''pandemonium ensued''.

''Fists hammered on the table; there was a rush of noise; papers flew in the air,'' O'Neill wrote. ''QRU chairman Dick McGruther could be heard about the din claiming treachery. His fellow Queensland delegates, John Breen and Norbert Byrne, were finger pointing and the language was blue. [ARU president] Phil Harry called for order and the three Queenslanders simply stormed out of the room. They eventually returned, still seething, while NSW delegates sat there with heads down and the hint of a smile playing at the corners of their mouths.''

O'Neill was suspicious a deal had been done between NSW and one southern delegate to get Smith over the line.

Nowadays the appointment of the Wallabies coach is more professionally conducted. But elsewhere in its administration, improvements are required. It mustn't end there though. After this review, other crucial areas including player development, law improvements and commercial opportunities should be investigated.

Then, at last, Australian rugby, struggling for identity due to AFL and rugby league dominance, may regain some of its mojo.

27 comments so far

  • Let's hope so. Such reforms are long overdue and can only help the game. Let's also hope that the importance of a national competition, regardless of whether it is initially profitable or not, is strenuously emphasised. The lack of depth in Aussie rugby has really been highlighted this year.

    Commenter
    harry
    Date and time
    April 30, 2012, 3:10AM
    • @Harry, the lack of depth in Australian Rugby starts with schools' and junior players. How many of those do we have compared to SA or NZ. I sat in front of a Saffie at the Tahs yesterday and listened as he explained to his companion how Rugby is virtually the only winter sport played at (white?) school. How many Australian schools play Rugby as their main winter sport? Naff all!
      Most of the mony comes from Super 15 but the provinces (such as they are) are generally appallingly run (like another commenter, I'm an ex-member).
      AS I watched the Tahs on Sunday I couldn't help but notice how much better drilled the Crusaders were. Not stronger or cleverer - so many things were automatic. They were patient too. So maybe either the coaching or the application of the players isn't as good as it could be.
      I wish the review well, but I find it difficult to imagine rugby surpassing AFL, or even League.

      Commenter
      Chris
      Location
      Kiama
      Date and time
      April 30, 2012, 4:26PM
  • And congratulations to Mike Hawker on his election as ARU Chairman. A worthy appointment.

    Commenter
    a don
    Location
    sydney
    Date and time
    April 30, 2012, 8:30AM
    • Hopefully a shore thing! Let's hope so.

      Commenter
      Machooka
      Location
      inner west sydney
      Date and time
      April 30, 2012, 9:51PM
  • Well what a surprise - when the ARU finally gets its act together, it may start to get the fans returning to teh game. The current situation is unfortunately laughable - it is a shame it takes the threat of withdrawn funding to get someone to take any notice.

    Too many old faces and closed doors. Get professional and you get successful. Don't lose the connection with the history, nor the great players - their role is essential. Just get them out of the administration of the game.

    Then I, and many others, will return to watching and having any interest in the great gme it is. When will someone finally fix the small things - eg, the time clock running while nothing happens, the scoring arrangements -these things are simply farcical and outdated. We may return to running rugby one day hopefully.

    Looking for excitement and thrills in the game - look to AFL. Shame to say it - just ask yourself - when was the last time you saw a match where it was at a "knife's-edge" for the last 20 minutes - tension is a rarity in rugby. Just boring, boring.

    Just an ex life-member lost to the game.

    Commenter
    TomTom2
    Date and time
    April 30, 2012, 8:44AM
    • Waratahs vs Crusaders - Sunday afternoon

      Commenter
      piru
      Location
      Perth via Rakaia
      Date and time
      April 30, 2012, 4:44PM
    • Oh please, are you serious or just seriously a pest. Sure there are issues but to say...'when was there a knife-edge in last 20 mins' is a nonsense.
      Yes you are 'lost' and it's questionable as to whether, ever, you were a true 'life-member'.
      Life is a journey not a given @ 2 Tim Tam

      Commenter
      Machooka
      Location
      inner west sydney
      Date and time
      April 30, 2012, 10:02PM
    • @TomTom2 Good riddance

      Commenter
      Phil
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 01, 2012, 6:26PM
  • Right with you 'harry'. Teh joke that led to WA getting the estra team in 2006 led to a sigh of relief at AFL headquarters where they couldn't believe their luck that the ARU had made such a stupid decision at a time the AFL believed a window of opportunity had opened for Rugby to make a serious in-road in Victoria at the expense of the AFL . That window had long closed by the time the Rebels were (most reluctantly by the ARU) given the go ahead.
    Go for it General - anything will be better than what Rugby has now

    Commenter
    Strineranger
    Location
    Victoria
    Date and time
    April 30, 2012, 10:47AM
    • 'the joke?'

      You mean that massive grassroots movement by the WA rugby community, culminating in a massive show of support by the fans, players and others in the community at Subiaco oval, shown on all the news channels and front page of the WA papers?

      I must've missed the punchline.

      Commenter
      piru
      Location
      Perth via Rakaia
      Date and time
      April 30, 2012, 4:43PM

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Super Rugby 2016

Round 1
Fri, 26 FebTimes shown AEDT
BLU 0vs HIG 0 17:35EP
BRU 0vs HUR 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 0vs Jagu 0 04:00FSS
Sunw 0vs LIO 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
CRU 0vs CHF 0 17:35AMI
WAR 0vs RED 0 19:40AS
FOR 0vs REB 0 21:50nib Stadium
Sun, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
King 0vs SHA 0 00:00NMBS
STO 0vs BUL 0 02:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 04 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 0vs BLU 0 17:35AMI
BRU 0vs WAR 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 0vs LIO 0 15:15FMG Stadium Waikato
HIG 0vs HUR 0 17:35FBS
RED 0vs FOR 0 19:40SS
Sun, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 0vs REB 0 00:00Loftu
CHT 0vs STO 0 02:05FSS
SHA 0vs Jagu 0 04:10GpKP
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 11 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 0vs HUR 0 17:35EP
FOR 0vs BRU 0 22:05nib Stadium
Sat, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 0vs LIO 0 17:35FBS
REB 0vs RED 0 19:40AAMI
Sunw 0vs CHT 0 21:50Singapore National Stadium
Sun, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
King 0vs CHF 0 00:00NMBS
STO 0vs SHA 0 02:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 18 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 0vs FOR 0 17:35Central Energy Trust Arena
WAR 0vs HIG 0 19:40AS
Sat, 19 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 0vs SHA 0 04:00Loftu
Sunw 0vs REB 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
CRU 0vs King 0 17:35AMI
RED 0vs BLU 0 19:40SS
Sun, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
LIO 0vs CHT 0 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
STO 0vs BRU 0 04:10DHL Newlands
Jagu 0vs CHF 0 09:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 0vs King 0 17:35WS
Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 0vs FOR 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
REB 0vs HIG 0 19:40AAMI
Sunw 0vs BUL 0 21:50Singapore National Stadium
Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 0vs BRU 0 00:00FSS
SHA 0vs CRU 0 02:05GpKP
Jagu 0vs STO 0 09:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
RED 0vs WAR 0 16:05SS
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
HIG 0vs FOR 0 17:35FBS
Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
LIO 0vs CRU 0 04:00Emirates Airlines Park
BLU 0vs Jagu 0 17:35QBE Stadium
BRU 0vs CHF 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
King 0vs Sunw 0 02:05NMBS
BUL 0vs CHT 0 03:10Loftu
WAR 0vs REB 0 16:05AS
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 0vs BLU 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
FOR 0vs CRU 0 21:00nib Stadium
Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
STO 0vs Sunw 0 03:00DHL Newlands
HUR 0vs Jagu 0 17:35WS
RED 0vs HIG 0 19:40SS
Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 0vs LIO 0 01:05GpKP
King 0vs BUL 0 03:10NMBS
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 0vs Jagu 0 17:35AMI
REB 0vs HUR 0 19:40AAMI
Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
CHT 0vs Sunw 0 03:00FSS
BLU 0vs SHA 0 17:35EP
WAR 0vs BRU 0 19:40AS
Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
BUL 0vs RED 0 01:05Loftu
LIO 0vs STO 0 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
HIG 0vs SHA 0 17:35FBS
REB 0vs CHT 0 19:40AAMI
Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
Sunw 0vs Jagu 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
HUR 0vs CHF 0 17:35WS
FOR 0vs WAR 0 19:40nib Stadium
STO 0vs RED 0 23:00DHL Newlands
Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
King 0vs LIO 0 01:05NMBS
BRU 0vs CRU 0 16:05GIO Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 0vs SHA 0 17:35Yarro
FOR 0vs BUL 0 21:05nib Stadium
Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
HIG 0vs BRU 0 15:15Rugby Park
BLU 0vs REB 0 17:35EP
RED 0vs CHT 0 19:40SS
Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO 0vs HUR 0 01:05Emirates Airlines Park
STO 0vs WAR 0 03:10DHL Newlands
Jagu 0vs King 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 0vs RED 0 17:35AMI
BRU 0vs BUL 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
Sunw 0vs FOR 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
CHF 0vs HIG 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
WAR 0vs CHT 0 19:40AS
SHA 0vs HUR 0 23:00GpKP
Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
King 0vs BLU 0 01:05NMBS
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 0vs CRU 0 17:35FBS
REB 0vs BRU 0 19:40AAMI
Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 0vs RED 0 17:35WS
WAR 0vs BUL 0 19:40AS
Sunw 0vs STO 0 21:45Singapore National Stadium
Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 0vs King 0 01:05FSS
LIO 0vs BLU 0 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
Jagu 0vs SHA 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 0vs WAR 0 17:35AMI
Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
RED 0vs Sunw 0 15:05SS
CHF 0vs REB 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
FOR 0vs BLU 0 19:40nib Stadium
LIO 0vs Jagu 0 23:00Emirates Airlines Park
Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA 0vs King 0 01:05GpKP
BUL 0vs STO 0 03:10Loftu
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 0vs HIG 0 17:35WS
WAR 0vs CHF 0 19:40AS
Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
King 0vs Jagu 0 03:00NMBS
BLU 0vs CRU 0 17:35EP
BRU 0vs Sunw 0 19:40GIO Stadium
STO 0vs CHT 0 23:00DHL Newlands
Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
BUL 0vs LIO 0 01:05Loftu
REB 0vs FOR 0 16:05AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
CHF 0vs CRU 0 17:35ANZ National Stadium, Suva
BRU 0vs RED 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
Sunw 0vs WAR 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
HUR 0vs BLU 0 17:35WS
REB 0vs STO 0 19:40AAMI
CHT 0vs FOR 0 23:00FSS
Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
LIO 0vs SHA 0 01:05Emirates Airlines Park
King 0vs HIG 0 03:10NMBS
Jagu 0vs BUL 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
BLU 0vs BRU 0 17:35EP
RED 0vs CHF 0 19:40SS
Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
LIO 0vs King 0 03:00Emirates Airlines Park
CRU 0vs REB 0 17:35AMI
WAR 0vs HUR 0 19:40AS
FOR 0vs STO 0 21:45nib Stadium
Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
BUL 0vs Sunw 0 01:05Loftu
SHA 0vs CHT 0 03:10GpKP
Jagu 0vs HIG 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
BLU 0vs WAR 0 17:35EP
RED 0vs REB 0 19:40SS
Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
SHA 0vs Sunw 0 03:00GpKP
CRU 0vs HUR 0 15:15AMI
HIG 0vs CHF 0 17:35FBS
BRU 0vs FOR 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
STO 0vs King 0 01:05DHL Newlands
CHT 0vs BUL 0 03:10FSS
Jagu 0vs LIO 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby Semi Finals
Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby Grand Final
Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby 2016
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Blues 0 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Super Rugby 2016
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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