Australian rugby threatens to descend into a bitter civil war after the sport's chairman Hamish McLennan vowed to fight a vote of no confidence.
The polarising figure received a letter on Friday night signed by six member unions, led by the Queensland Reds and ACT Brumbies, calling on him to resign after a disastrous year.
Two days of intense Rugby Australia board meetings followed as senior officials debated McLennan's future as chairman. Another meeting will be held on Sunday night.
The embattled boss was initially given a 5pm deadline on Saturday to either resign or the states and territories would call for an extraordinary general meeting, where a vote would take place.
The deadline was pushed back by 24 hours, however, McLennan came out swinging on Sunday to set the scene for a bitter two months.
Under the RA constitution, the date for the EGM must be decided within 21 days, and the meeting must be held within the next 60 days.
"As Tom Petty famously sung, 'I won't back down'," McLennan told The Australian Financial Review.
"This is a classic case of the tail wagging the dog."
In Friday's letter, the member unions called on McLennan to resign and to allow the sport to move forward with a clean slate.
While ACT chairman Matt Nobbs previously held a close relationship with the RA boss, he said the time had come for a new leader.
"Hamish has done a number of positive things for Australian rugby but, on balance, it's clear, he is not the right person to take us forward," Nobbs said on Friday.
"Trust is at the heart of any change and for ACT Rugby to work with Rugby Australia, we need to focus on rebuilding a trusting relationship, which won't happen under the current chair."
The RA board has the power to remove McLennan before the member unions vote at an EGM and the controversial issue has been discussed extensively over the past two days.
It's understood there are differing views within the board and another meeting was scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Should they stand by the chairman, the directors will be under significant pressure to resign if McLennan is ousted at the EGM.
The Brumbies are confident their alliance has the numbers to succeed, with the group currently boasting nine of 16 votes.
While Western Australian Rugby Union is aligned with the Brumbies, Western Force owner Andrew Forrest has thrown his support behind McLennan. NSW and Victorian officials are also set to back the chairman.
The Rugby Union Players Association vote remains undecided.
The timing of the vote will also prove crucial, with one of the three NSW votes to be voided on January 1 as part of the state's centralisation agreement. The Melbourne Rebels are also close to agreeing to a deal with RA on the contentious topic.
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