The ACT Brumbies have welcomed the departure of former Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan and expressed their desire to put a damaging chapter in the code's history behind them.
The Brumbies were one of six member unions to deliver a vote of no confidence in the chairman on Friday night. Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory were also signatories of the letter.
Two days of intense meetings followed, with Rugby Australia directors initially split on how to proceed.
Had they backed McLennan, the member unions would have triggered an extraordinary general meeting and the chair's fate would have been decided by a vote.
The alliance was confident they had the numbers to oust the polarising figure.
McLennan initially dug his heels in and vowed to remain in the job until the EGM. Such a move threatened to cause even more damage to the sport.
RA held a fourth and final meeting on Sunday night, with McLennan opting to resign from the board after he was voted out as chairman. Daniel Herbert has been installed as the interim chairman.
The six member unions issued a joint statement on Monday morning praising the former chairman for making a decision that reflects the best interests of Australian rugby.
"Mr McLennan has always acted in what he genuinely believed was in the best interests of our game, and his resignation today is a demonstration of this," the statement said.
"It is an honourable decision that recognises his continued service had become a distraction to the game.
"Mr McLennan cannot be faulted for his energy or devotion to rugby, nor his tireless efforts for the game.
"In particular, his efforts during the COVID pandemic helped secure the game's future during its darkest hour.
"The member unions remain committed to working with Rugby Australia's new chair Dan Herbert and chief executive officer Phil Waugh on their plans for high-performance centralisation."
McLennan responded to the RA board decision on Monday morning, claiming he was the victim of a smear campaign by the states and territories.
In an interview with 2GB radio, the former chair expressed his disappointment and declared the member unions were seeking greater control of the sport.
"I think this is all about money and control at the end of the day, so we'll see how it plays out. I just think there's no doubt there's been a coordinated campaign to smear me," McLennan said.
"The results of the World Cup were pretty poor, but I think we've got to look at the underlying reasons and the fact is the system's broken, and we've got to fix it."
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