JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Waratahs boss tackles the tough questions

Date

The coach quit, the team manager has left, and the chairman has resigned. Greg Growden asks Waratahs chief executive Jason Allen the hard questions.

In the firing line ... Tahs' Chief Executive, Jason Allen.

In the firing line ... Tahs' Chief Executive, Jason Allen. Photo: Steve Christo

Greg Growden: Was [Waratahs team manager] Chris Webb sacked by you?

Jason Allen: I can't comment on that.

GG: Why not?

JA: Because that is a private matter. Chris Webb is finished with our employment.

GG: There have been allegations of a salary cap concern, which a number of other provinces have denied being involved in. This involves a province being involved via an invoice system where they have been able to pay players through their club. Are the Waratahs in a salary cap breach? Are they involved in this?

JA: I can assure you that the matter has been raised with the ARU, and the ARU are investigating it. And they've requested that they comment on it.

GG: So you can't comment on that situation?

JA: No, I cannot comment on that situation.

GG: So you cannot confirm or deny that your province is involved?

JA: I cannot comment on that situation.

GG: So do I have to go to the Australian Rugby Union for comment?

JA: Please.

GG: Michael Foley. When are you hoping to announce his replacement?

JA: We've started the process with the board. We've been able to get a link-up now with board members, because a lot of them are currently travelling. The rugby subcommittee met yesterday. So we've already started a process of looking at a shortlist of candidates.

GG: When are you hoping to announce a coach?

JA: We're hoping to do that quickly. We haven't got a timescale on it, because it really depends on the timing of talking to all the people at the moment.

GG: Your captain Benn Robinson has said that he hopes there is player input in this appointment. Will there be player input? Will they be part of the decision-making?

JA: Absolutely. I'm hoping to catch up with ''Robbo'' this week, when he gets a gap in his training. I've already spoken to the team and Al Baxter, who is their player representative on the board. So we're getting to the bottom of how they'd like to be engaged.

GG: Have you already talked to coaching candidates?

JA: We've already had a chat to a potential coach, and some candidates have spoken to me over the last 12 months. Quite a few of them have kept in touch.

GG: Is there interest in Michael Cheika?

JA: Michael Cheika is absolutely of interest to our organisation.

GG: [Waratahs backs coach] Alan Gaffney is a possible candidate. Is there any truth to the suggestion that a number of months ago pressure was applied on Michael Foley, and maybe Chris Webb, to have Gaffney sacked?

JA: There was pressure on the footy department to make some savings, that they agreed to at the beginning of the year. How that looked, and what that entailed, wasn't finalised at all. So that could have been a combination of many areas. That could have been what we were doing as far as travel costs, some of our

committed costs, trial matches. It could have been a head count reduction. There wasn't any names that were asked or requested at that time. They were looking at a structural change, and Michael Foley came out publicly recently and said they were considering a structural change anyway going into the future. We were hoping to get to a final result with Michael Foley, but that's all changed now.

GG: So at that time, were you asking coaches to look at the cost structure, and where it could be cut back?

JA: The whole football budget.

GG: Are we talking around the time of the Waratahs' South African trip?

JA: No, it happened three months prior to that. We had a review halfway through the season on the whole business. So we changed some head count within the administration as well. We had to remove a head count there, and the footy department were volunteering some savings there as well. We needed to streamline our costs.

GG: Did anything actually occur?

JA: We had some decreased travel commitments, so we were able to start taking some overheads out of the business. The footy department did a terrific job actually.

GG: But was there any pressure applied to get rid of one of the Waratahs staff members?

JA: They were actually given a budget to take out of the structure of our business. How that looked was up to the footy department to present to us. That was a presentation done through the recent review, and Michael Foley presented a damn good case for the footy department going forward, with some savings in there, which from the administration perspective, I was backing and supporting him on that.

GG: What was the logic behind having a season review when the Waratahs still had to play two of their biggest matches, against the Brumbies and Reds?

JA: That's a comment for the board [to make].

GG: But aren't you a member of the board?

JA: No I am not.

GG: But you still would have been in the process of that decision?

JA: I was able to sit through the process. Absolutely.

GG: Were you at that meeting?

JA: Absolutely. I was invited to it.

GG: How did Michael Foley handle that meeting?

JA: Extremely well.

GG: Are you surprised he has left the Waratahs?

JA: I'm very disappointed he has left.

GG: Can you understand why he has left?

JA: From what he's told me, yes.

GG: What about a new Waratahs chairman [to replace Ed Zemancheff, who has resigned]? What is happening there?

JA: We have an interim chairman, Al Baxter, for at least the next month. We have a board meeting later in the month. So the board will get together, and they will decide on the next stage in the process. They all want to be in the same room, because at the moment they are travelling. We have directors overseas, on holidays and work trips.

GG: What are your thoughts on a season which ended up with the embarrassing situation of eight losses in a row?

JA: It is really disappointing. We had a really good opportunity off the field because we had some afternoon games, and we got some great support from the ARU, SANZAR and the broadcaster. They were successful days, and the games were pretty good. The one thing I can say is I'm pleased with how the blokes and the staff have handled it. They've already started their pre-season plan. The guys are well and truly in place for next season.

GG: How is the Waratahs' financial situation?

JA: It's been a tough year. We're looking at a small loss this year. We've still got a lot of actual activity in the market. We do a lot of ''train with the team'' activities, and they're pretty big revenue contributors at this time of the year. Our current forecast would be a very small loss. However, we will still be paying our licence fee to the NSWRU, which is really important because our job, at the end of the day, is to fund the community game in NSW. They will not miss out on their funding.

GG: Were you concerned NSWRU chairman Nick Farr-Jones had commented that he believed the Waratahs had lost touch with the community game, even to the extent that they were considering revoking that licence?

JA: I haven't spoken to Nick about any of that. So I'm only commenting on what I have read. Nick has spoken to me before about the community game and our activities in the field. And he's damn well right. No one dodges that in our place. That's why last year we formed a committee inside the business, with ARU and NSW representatives, with my staff, and we've started a program. It's not a jazzy name with no activity. It's called Community Connection, and we've increased our visits into the market this year by 250. That's not chicken feed. It's 750 activities in the community in this state. To be fair on our guys, you couldn't ask for more than that, because we've only got half the squad for half the year. So you've got very few doing a lot. Could we do it better? Absolutely. No doubt. And we will do it better. I would like to see our players get into the junior clubs and schools, and that will happen.

GG: With the province expected to run at a slight loss, that could put you in a compromising position because the Waratahs coaching job is the plum job in Australian rugby. Will that affect your ability to get the best candidate, because to get the best candidate you will probably have to pay big money to get him?

JA: We wouldn't compromise that opportunity. However, we do have tight financial restraints on the business. If that means we need to make other changes, and have a chat to some of our stakeholders such as the NSWRU and the ARU, we will. There's a call in at the ARU at the moment. They have offered their full support to help us through this process, which has been terrific.

HuffPost Australia

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
 

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers