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Thread: Protecting Wallabies funding 'key' to rugby resurgence, says Clarke

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    Protecting Wallabies funding 'key' to rugby resurgence, says Clarke

    NRC confirmed as gone (it could be permanently too).

    Protecting Wallabies funding 'key' to rugby resurgence, says Clarke

    By Tom Decent
    June 2, 2020 — 12.10pm

    Interim Rugby Australia chief executive Rob Clarke has stressed the importance of protecting Wallabies funding in the future and confirmed new coach Dave Rennie won’t be required to take a five per cent pay cut asked of other senior staff members.

    A day after announcing that roughly one-third of full-time RA staff would lose their job in coming weeks, as well as another 30 casual workers, Clarke defended the cuts, saying they were extremely difficult but “prudent” in the current landscape.

    In order to reduce RA's wage bill by $5.5 million, 47 of 142 staff have been let go, with further cuts flagged in a second restructure to be confirmed in coming weeks set to affect Super Rugby franchises.

    RA has also cut rugby.com.au, its independent digital news arm, and will attempt to push out its own content to try and increase the game's popularity without a dedicated team of reporters who have covered all variety of rugby events with distinction from grassroots to Test level.

    Clarke said the belt had been tightened in all areas of the business but made it clear it was imperative to give the Wallabies every chance to return to their former glory.

    The Wallabies have slumped to seventh in the world after bowing out in the quarter-finals of last year’s Rugby World Cup. RA spent $9.7m on the Wallabies team in 2019, slightly down on the $9.9m in 2018 but more than the $8.5m in 2017.

    By comparison, RA forked out $5.4m for its national sevens teams and $6.4m for Super Rugby sides last year.

    “A key part of our financial underpinning is a successful Wallabies,” Clarke said. “It’s not everything but it’s certainly a key part of it. We’ll be protecting that as much as possible ... to help get the Wallabies where they need to get to as a world ranking.

    “Dave Rennie is a key part of that and I am delighted with how Dave has been engaging on that task since signing up and I think he is going to make a very big positive difference.”

    Pressed on whether Australia’s sevens and Wallaroos programs would be impacted - there are major questions marks over their future funding - Clarke said, “we want to support as much of our national programs as possible”.

    “We’re looking at the high performance area as a stand-alone operation at the moment and with [director of rugby] Scott Johnson and other management staff, we’re looking at how we can deliver high performance across the country more efficiently,” Clarke said.

    “It comes down to prioritising the most important functions of our business. We will have to look at programs and certain initiatives that we might want to have implemented that maybe we can’t for now.”

    As revealed by the Herald at the weekend, RA won’t make Rennie, who begins his new role on July 1, take a pay cut despite remaining senior staff being asked to do so.

    “Dave hasn’t started yet, so he will be excluded from that,” Clarke said. “All other staff over a certain threshold will be invited to take a five per cent pay cut. It’s a legal requirement and so we’ll be following the law there. I’m confident that the staff coming back will want to help to continue to play their part in the financial sustainability of the game. We don’t anticipate a full workforce coming back until October.”

    Clarke confirmed the National Rugby Championship would not take place this year and that discussions were well advanced for a fourth Bledisloe Cup match to take place between the Wallabies and All Blacks, with two fixtures in each country.

    He also said Australia was likely to host New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina this year in a revised Rugby Championship held in a bubble.

    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-u....html#comments

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    Veteran Bakkies's Avatar
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    They couldn’t lie straight in bed. The annual report said they had 200 on JobKeeper and here it is saying they have 142 on the payroll.

    With the Qld and WA borders closed and club Rugby not kicked off yet it was near impossible to have the NRC this year.

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    Veteran valzc's Avatar
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    Nothings really changed - they’ve made a few token gestures ie sacking staff (which they were probably told to do by KPMG). And guaranteed, all the same shit will start creeping back in all over again. Leopards and spots! They should have gone into voluntary administration and scrapped the lot!

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    Wow. The RA paid the SRU to release Johnson now they need to tell us what he is being paid.

    Good job that the IRB is now the puppet controlling Clarke. He will be hating this.

    More bloodletting in ruthless rugby resetJESSICA HALLORAN


    Rugby Australia’s interim chief executive Rob Clarke speaks to the media on Tuesday Picture: Getty Images
    AN HOUR AGO JUNE 2, 2020
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    No one is safe.

    While Rugby Australia saved $5.5 million in wages on Monday by sacking 40 per cent of their staff it’s no secret the bloodletting will continue in what they are calling “phase two”.

    Over the coming months senior rugby personnel could be shown the door as the organisation battles to meet World Rugby’s demands.

    Brutal cost cutting is unavoidable because while Rugby Australia has received $4.7m of their World Rugby cash advance, the remaining $9.5m won’t be received unless four strict conditions are met.

    On page 19 of the annual report obtained by The Australian there are a set of extraordinary conditions attached to the remaining money World Rugby will hand out. RA must exhaust all reasonable cost saving opportunities, including salaries, and must exhaust all other sources of funding including cash reserves, government handouts and other loan facilities. RA must also “demonstrate good financial stewardship and provide robust supporting data” and continue to provide World Rugby with updates.

    To put it simply, World Rugby currently holds RA’s future in its hands.

    The $14.2m bailout is on the strictest terms and is an advance of the expected $19m that Australia is due to receive in the 2023 World Cup year.

    The high performance unit is one high cost centre that is facing budget cuts. Last year there was $9.2m spent on “high performance and teams” as well as a $9.6m on “Wallabies teams costs”. Incoming Wallabies coach Dave Rennie is reportedly on $1m. Rugby Australia’s coaching director Scott Johnson is understood to be on close to $700,000. The Gold Coast-based coaching director, who flies in and out to RA’s Sydney base, was recruited by then chief executive Raelene Castle in late 2018.

    The Australian can reveal RA paid out his Scottish Rugby Union contract to the tune of $200,000. As rugby in this country burns, such spending is a thing of the past.

    As for Super Rugby? The competition as we know it is all but done but what the competition will look like beyond this year is not confirmed.

    Some of the best Australian players are looking to break their contracts as it is all but inevitable their salaries will drop.

    The national Sevens program is in the gun — last year $5.3m was spent on it — and there are whispers that will suffer and have to survive on meagre funding in the future.

    While there were 200 staff on the books at RA last year, there is talk by the end of 2020 there could be as little as a half left in the front office. This is rugby’s new economic reality as the sport faces a ruthless reset.

    RA, which has managed to blow $500m over the past four years and has nothing to show for itself, is in for a period of radical transformation.

    Rewind the clock and watch Super Rugby classics with Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your free trial and start streaming instantly >

    Back in 2016 when Pulver inked the $285m broadcast deal he promised the “growth of a future fund to $10m” by 2020. If Pulver’s strategic plan had come to fruition the Wallabies would be No 1 in the world — a mere fantasy now.

    In November, when Castle, along with her well-paid broadcast strategists, walked away from a $200m five-year deal; she effectively gambled with rugby’s future.

    It has left interim chief executive Rob Clarke with no choice but to be ruthless in mopping up the mess left by a cast including Michael Hawker, Bill Pulver, Cameron Clyne and Castle.

    The board must also be held to account for steering the rugby ship onto the rocks.

    Nothing will be the same and that is a good thing. If Fox Sports (owned by News Corp publisher of The Australian) do come to the negotiating table for 2021 and beyond, rugby sources suggest it could be a long-term deal but with a conservative amount paid on strict conditions. Terms designed to prevent rugby from indulging in the profligacies of the past.

    While rugby league has enjoyed an almost flawless return, and the AFL is on the cusp of a comeback, all rugby union fans can do is wait.

    To get out of this mess, it’s going to be a long climb, and some senior personnel won’t get to set foot on the mountain let alone ascend it.

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    'I may be a Senator but I am not stupid'


    https://omny.fm/shows/the-alan-jones-breakfast-show/cameron-clyne

    Link to Senate Report http://www.aph.gov.au/senate_ca

    https://www.change.org/p/rugby-australia-petition-for-cameron-clyne-to-resign-as-chairman-of-the-rugby-australia-board

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    I hate Rugby Australia more with each passing day.

    Why the member unions, including RWA, aren’t doing anything to hold them to account is totally beyond me. RA is walking all over them all.

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    And for Clarke to be the one spearheading RA to salvation is the very definition of irony. He milked the cash cow dry and is now lookimg to take the glory for getting others to clear up the cess pit. Unbelievable.

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    Proudly Western Australian; Proudly supporting Western Australian rugby

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    Veteran valzc's Avatar
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    I want a really BIG banner at the Force games saying ‘WE TOLD YOU SO!’ Christ, all this was spelled out by WA all this time, and the chickens have finally come to roost.

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