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Thread: States Move to Oust McLennan

  1. #31
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    McLennan in St Tropez
    The separated wife of Twiggy Forrest threw her lot in with the embattled Rugby Australia chairman, fighting an insurrection from state rugby associations.


    Mark Di Stefano
    Columnist
    Financial Review


    In the weeks after the Wallabies crashed out of the Rugby World Cup in early October, Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan stayed on in France with chief executive Phil Waugh, for rugby business.

    Before Fiji’s quarter-final with England – the one that was supposed to have featured the Wallabies – that took them to St Tropez.

    There, the duo attended a luxe drinks function on the French Riviera with long-time rugby patron Nicola Forrest. Also at the event was Anthony Flannery – who is part of the Forrests’ Tattarang and chairs the Western Force – alongside Nine chairman Peter Costello and CEO Mike Sneesby, there as the broadcasters of the game in Australia. As was Jefferies CEO Michael Stock, the dealmaker who has worked with Nine and Rugby Australia.

    While McLennan and Waugh did the rounds, back home, rugby was burning.

    Over the weekend, McLennan tried to stare down a plot to oust him. Several renegade state associations moved on Friday, seeking the chairman’s head for the World Cup disaster, and threatening to blast out McLennan if Rugby Australia doesn’t do it itself.

    Rugby Australia’s board is in full panic mode, hosting no less than three board meetings across Saturday and Sunday.

    But the St Tropez knees-up suddenly seems relevant because on Saturday, Andrew Forrest and Nicola issued a joint statement backing McLennan, suggesting he could take up a career in couples counselling.

    Apart from being billionaire sponsors, the Forrests own the WA Super Rugby franchise, therefore holding a crucial vote if any were to come to pass. But they don’t speak for their state: WA Rugby, the code’s governing body in the state, is part of the push to oust McLennan.

    It’s a revealing insight. Rather than sue for peace, McLennan has gone to war in the media, while favours come in from rich friends, one of whom was part of his now notorious French junketeering.

    This seems to lose sight of the simple fact McLennan has actual constituents – the grassroots of the game – who have the power and now an incentive to get rid of him.

    The other ringer who called in to pledge support was John Coates. The former Australian Olympic Committee boss is another who runs in the same elite circles as McLennan. (McLennan attended Coates’ opulent farewell dinner last year.)

    Coates is all about the men-in-blazers life. That is, all about the faceless men in suits who govern global sport, from FIFA to the IOC.

    “I don’t know if that is part of the problem the states have with him,” Coates told The Australian. “But we were successful in securing 2027 and 2029 world cups and I know how highly he is regarded by World Rugby people.”

    McLennan, Coates is saying, is part of his crowd, a greaser of wheels and shaker of hands, and worth preserving for that reason.

    It’s no surprise Coates can’t comprehend a constituent revolt or proper governance controls because he never had them.

    In 2017, former AOC chief executive Fiona de Jong went public with bullying accusations at the Olympic body. A subsequent review effectively found the AOC operated like a boys’ club.

    Rather than cede the position he had held for decades, Coates stayed on, took some haircuts on pay, and in 2020, the AOC actually changed the body’s constitution to make him “honorary lifetime president”. Coates turned governance around sport in this country into something akin to a Russian kleptocracy.

    There are some who don’t want to play that game. It’s hard to unpick the reasons that lay at the heart of the move to oust McLennan. The agitator states – led by Queensland’s Brett Clark and the ACT’s Matt Nobbs – say it’s “not about opposition” to McLennan’s centralisation project. There can be centralisation, without McLennan.

    But Queensland and ACT rugby have also been consistently vocal against the push. They are using governance concerns to say McLennan’s judgment and the “captain’s picks” have been dreadful. Ergo, please go.

    Less in doubt are McLennan’s motivations. If grassroots rugby was really a motivation, why all the glitzy events in Paris, and now St Tropez? Why deliver incendiary comments to newspapers, dismissing the small states as a bunch of good-for-nothings?

    Despite the numbers now lined up against him, McLennan’s sole motivation is self-preservation. Prepare to bear witness to the lengths he’ll go to to save himself.

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  2. #32
    Legend Contributor brokendown gunfighter's Avatar
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    nothing like a jolly good knees up in St Tropez after failing to make the quarters,eh?

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  3. #33
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    Herbert should have already been on a Plane to meet with RugbyWA, and all other "renegade" States.

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  4. #34
    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    Given how cash strapped Rugby Australia is I'll assume you mean a Teams/Zoom meeting

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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    Given how cash strapped Rugby Australia is I'll assume you mean a Teams/Zoom meeting
    He's sent a pigeon

    It's the best they can do at the moment

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    C'mon the

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by GIGS20 View Post
    He's sent a pigeon

    It's the best they can do at the moment
    Pigeons aren't cheap but you can run a teams meeting at the local public library.

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