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Thread: ‘Nothing is off the table’: Heads set to roll amid major Rugby Australia shake-up

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    Legend Contributor .X.'s Avatar
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    ‘Nothing is off the table’: Heads set to roll amid major Rugby Australia shake-up

    Christy Doran from Fox Sports

    October 31st, 2021 7:45 pm

    Rugby Australia is set to make the director of rugby role defunct, leaving Scott Johnson’s position at the cash-strapped organisation in grave doubt.

    As part of RA’s move towards centralisation, it can be revealed sweeping changes are on the cards over the coming months at the governing body.

    Foxsports.com.au has been told by insiders the governing body considers itself “top heavy” and “nothing is off the table” as it looks to become a more “efficient and effective model”.

    RA is leaning towards an Irish-style centralised model, where Australian and former Super Rugby-winning Brumbies coach David Nucifora is the high performance director of the Irish Rugby Football Union.

    Currently, RA has a number of people employed across high performance roles, including Johnson, Adrian Thompson (national head of talent management), Ben Whitaker (high performance, professional services), Scott Bowen (sevens), Jilly Collins (women’s rugby), Nick Taylor (contracting manager) and Chris Webb (Wallabies manager).

    RA’s former CEO Raelene Castle paid Scotland Rugby an estimated $150,000 to bring on board Johnson in early 2019.

    Castle, in part, brought Johnson on board as a checks and balances measure to rein in the totalitarian power of then-Wallabies coach Michael Cheika ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

    Johnson was hired on a three-year deal, worth upwards of $500,000 per year.

    At the time, his appointment was applauded in varying rugby circles.

    Then RA chair Cameron Clyne said the move was about setting the foundations in place for “sustainable success”.

    “We want to win the World Cup, then we want to win the Bledisloe, then we want to win Rugby Championships,” Clyne said.

    As yet, none of those three things have occurred.

    Johnson’s tenure at RA has been contentious from the get-go. While Cheika termed his arrival at RA “great”, he later admitted he should have “resigned” because it undermined his role as Wallabies coach.

    Others have called Johnson a “myth” and someone who managed to coax people into believing he decoded the British and Irish Lions’ lineout during the famous 2001 series, where the Wallabies held on to win 2-1.

    Johnson was also considered a competent Wallabies assistant coach under John Connolly.

    The well-travelled coach and director of rugby, who coached Scotland and Wales briefly, was instrumental in bringing Dave Rennie on board as Wallabies coach, where the duo previously worked alongside one another in Scotland.

    Johnson and Rennie are believed to be very close to one another and are represented by the same management, Esportif.

    Interestingly, some in current Australian coaching positions have changed their tune in recent months and believe Johnson is having a positive impact, particularly in the Wallabies environment.

    He is someone who challenges the Wallabies’ coaches and often plays the role of “devil’s advocate”.

    Rennie is coming to the end of his second year as an international coach, where he is well supported by experienced assistants Scott Wisemantel and Dan McKellar, who is also acting as the coaching co-ordinator at the Wallabies. RA is confident he will be fine without his coaching ally.

    Johnson has travelled with the Wallabies for the past three years, where he is also one of three national selectors alongside the coach and Wisemantel.

    He spends the bulk of his time in the Wallabies environment, with Australian sevens coaches Tim Walsh and John Manenti also reporting to him.

    Yet, the decision to move away from the director of rugby role to a high performance manager is likely to see Johnson’s time at RA come to an end imminently.

    It is as much a financial decision as anything else. Sources believe someone with more administrative skills will be more effective in the new role, overseeing all programs within high performance rugby.

    The recent debacle in which the Wallabies’ Japanese-based trio Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi and Sean McMahon withdrew from their final three Tests of the year has not painted Johnson in good light.

    Some believe Johnson should have been speaking to the players’ agents, as well as the players. In the end, his handling has antagonised relationships between the players, agents and the Wallabies.

    But the writing was on the wall for Johnson’s tenure at RA well before the past week.

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    It certainly is top heavy.

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    It certainly is top heavy.
    Well how else would they keep the jobs for the boys?

    Rugby Australia is just as bad as the Federal Liberal Party.

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    Veteran sittingbison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RA shill
    ...“We want to win the World Cup, then we want to win the Bledisloe, then we want to win Rugby Championships,” Clyne said...
    lol looking at the order of Clumsy Clines bucket list reveals just what a plonker he truly was

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    Veteran sittingbison's Avatar
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    maybe, just maybe the mantra "nothing is off the table" should actually mean just that. Completely clean house, and start again from the ground up with a modern, actually representative sporting administration.

    oh well back in my box

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    GRob has basically re-written the above article with a little more detail about possible changes to player contracting. If that part is to be a genuine change, I'd be pretty OK with it. But it sure could prove a double edged sword depending who is running the ship in future.

    "Johnson’s pivot – it is yet to be determined whether he will stay on as a selector or in another supportive role – will be just the start of the changes if McLennan and Marinos have their way.

    They are plotting a wholesale centralisation of high performance, streamlining coaching and athletic development roles, ending the warehousing of players in the major nurseries of NSW and Queensland, and centralising the contracting of players.

    It will require approval by a vote of all member unions, a stumbling block that could yet scupper the reforms with Queensland and NSW holding the majority of votes." - SMH.

    https://www.watoday.com.au/sport/rug...08-p59fte.html

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    That last para of GRob’s piece contains the showstopper.

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