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Thread: States Move to Oust McLennan

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    States Move to Oust McLennan

    This article is paywalled and this is all I got so far. But it looks like all the state unions are just a suss as most of us that the latest moves are simply a reverse takeover of one bankrupt body by another.

    Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan says he will fight a move from six state unions to oust him after the disgruntled group confronted the embattled official and urged him to resign.

    The chairs of the Queensland Rugby Union, ACT Rugby, Rugby WA, South Australia Rugby, Tasmania Rugby and Northern Territory Rugby jointly sent a letter of no confidence to McLennan on Friday, following a secret phone hook-up on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the RA chairman’s leadership following a disastrous year in rugby.

    QRU chairman Brett Clark phoned McLennan on Friday afternoon to inform him of their collective stance, and urged the RA chairman to stand down.

    Under the Rugby Australia constitution, voting members of the national union – the states and territories, the Super Rugby clubs and the Rugby Union Players Association – can call an extraordinary general meeting and remove a Rugby Australia director by a majority vote.

    The signatories believe they have the numbers to force McLennan’s hand but their call for him to resign was rejected immediately, meaning they’ll have to call an EGM and vote on the matter. Two member unions can call an EGM and Rugby Australia then has 60 days to hold the meeting.

    McLennan confirmed on Friday he had received a call from Clark but said he would not be standing down.

    “This will be the defining moment for the battle of rugby. It’s all about money and control and we have been failing for years. We live in interesting times,” McLennan told this masthead.

    “This is about principles. They are actually not putting the game first and its about self-interest and parochialism.”

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    The only outlier from this move is no surprise to anyone. Apologies for the poor formatting. Only phone available ATM,.....

    Rugby Australia has been in a state of crisis after the Wallabies failed to progress beyond the Rugby World Cup pool stages for the first time, leading to the resignation of coach Eddie Jones in October – less than a year into his five-year contract.

    NSW Rugby Union, which this week signed over the running of the Waratahs to Rugby Australia, was not on the Wednesday phone hook-up and was not among the group seeking to remove McLennan.

    This masthead can reveal powerbrokers from Rugby Australia’s state unions and Super Rugby clubs began discussing confidence in McLennan’s leadership before the Rugby World Cup.

    There are 13 voting members of Rugby Australia: each state or territory gets one vote (and a second vote if it has more than 50,000 players), each Super Rugby licencee gets a vote, and the Rugby Union Players Association also has a vote.
    Eddie Jones resigned as Wallabies coach less than 12 months into a five-year deal.

    Eddie Jones resigned as Wallabies coach less than 12 months into a five-year deal.Credit: Getty

    With the Waratahs’ vote now void given it is under RA ownership, there are a total of 15 votes.

    A group of Queensland Rugby Union/Reds (3), ACT Rugby/Brumbies (2) and Rugby WA/Force (2), along with South Australia (1), Tasmania (1) and Northern Territory (1) would represent a majority. It is unclear whether the Andrew Forrest-owned Force would vote alongside Rugby WA.

    The unions who confronted McLennan are aggrieved at his leadership across a number of areas, including the Jones’ recruitment, the Wallabies’ failure at the Rugby World Cup, the big-money recruitment of Joseph Suaalii, a blowout in the Wallabies budget and a failure to meet RA promises of funding increases to the state unions.
    Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh.

    Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh.Credit: Getty

    “During the past 12 months Mr McLennan has made a series of calls that have harmed the standing and reputation of our game and led us to question his judgement and his understanding of high-performance sport,” the six unions’ said in the letter to the RA board.

    “His decisions and “captain’s picks” have directly led to an historic failure at the men’s Rugby World Cup and a Wallabies international ranking at an historic low, with all of the regrettable and public fallout that came with it.

    “In addition to this, Mr McLennan’s use of player poaching to threaten other sports and boost our own stocks and performance alienates us from having collaborative conversations with the other major sports to improve participation across the Australian community.”

    In an interview with Stan Sport last week, McLennan issued his first apology for RA’s turbulent period but denied Jones had been a captain’s pick, and stressed he was keen to “stick it out and fix it once and for all”. He also said he would make the same decision to hire Jones again.

    In the unions’ statement released on Friday, Clark said: “We as member unions of Australian Rugby have a duty to protect the reputation of our game. Some of the leadership decisions that have been made over the past few years demonstrate the current Chair is not the right cultural fit for how we want our game to be represented in our country and globally.”

    Brumbies chairman Matt Nobbs said change was a must to rebuild trust “which won’t happen under the current chair”.

    “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.

    The non-Super Rugby states said they were supporting the push for a new Rugby Australia chair to ensure decisions were being made that benefited all in Australian rugby.

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    Dead man walking by the sound of that then.
    It has always been that the NWS-Qld-ACT block would stop any "disruption" to the status quo, with that Holy Trinity fractured now it is time up for the Hammer.
    With a bit of a sweetener for SA-Tas-NT then a pissed off Qld and a pissed off and nervous ACT will get it over the line.
    I don't think the unmentioned Vic/Rebels will even matter, but I reckon they will read the room and go with any majority.

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    I think, rather than being a move by conservative and parochial states to hold onto their slice of the pie, this is federation working properly and ensuring that you only stay in the top job if you serve the interests of everybody.

    Bring on the EGM and show nswrugby how out of touch with the good of Aussie rugby.

    Hopefully, the majority that will remove McLennan will have a ready picked candidate who will stand up to the NSW power bloc now that they've voluntarily given their tahs vote to Ra and no longer have more power in the vote than act, Vic or wa.

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    C'mon the

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    The thing I noticed about his intention to fight this was his attitude towards the unions that signed the letter. Going hard on the attack with phrases like "parochial self interest" & "all about money and control". Doubtless there is some truth there. But those are not the words of a collegiate leader who can build the trust needed to make the necessary reforms in high performance.

    PS. According to sauces Rugby WA & The Western Force are in opposite camps ATM. So WA won't decide one way or the other.

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    Last edited by shasta; 18-11-23 at 09:12.

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    No surprise that Kearns has come out in support of McLennan but is he for real when he says McLennan "got Twiggy and Nicola Forrest supporting the Western Force."
    Bloody idiot.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    Dead man walking by the sound of that.....
    .....I don't think the unmentioned Vic/Rebels will even matter, but I reckon they will read the room and go with any majority.
    Apparently that was an astute reading of the tea leaves, Burgs.
    Overall, I don't have enough information to know which is the best way forward. For starters I'm a little uneasy seeing Rugby WA & the Forrest's in opposing trenches. I don't like McHamish's sledgehammer MO, but on the evidence so far Tatterang seems to genuinely want to rebuild Rugby from grass roots up. And they are backing McLennan to get the reforms done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    ..."parochial self interest" & "all about money and control"...
    Found that pretty ironic given the speaker!

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    Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan is digging in and will force member unions to a protracted vote on his future after rejecting a call from six rebel state unions to resign.

    Ahead of a third emergency meeting of the RA board on Sunday afternoon, McLennan declared he doesn’t intend to stand down after being sent a letter of no confidence by the Queensland, ACT, West Australian, South Australia, Tasmanian and Northern Territory state unions on Friday.

    The under-siege chairman was given a deadline of 5pm Sunday to resign before the states would formally call for an extraordinary general meeting, where they would seek to vote McLennan out as a director.

    But ahead of the deadline, McLennan declared he would not be standing down and would take the messy battle to a show of hands at an EGM. Sources close to the boardroom discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the talks, said the board was split in its support for McLennan.

    “As Tom Petty famously sung, I won’t back down,” McLennan told The Australian Financial Review on Sunday. “This is a classic case of the tail wagging the dog.”

    McLennan told The Australian he would depart if he lost the vote at an EGM, which must be held within 60 days of a request from two member unions.

    “Bring on an EGM and let’s clear this up once and for all, otherwise the division and backstabbing will continue,” McLennan said.

    “The purpose of the EGM should be a referendum on fixing the constitution and centralisation. This is our moment. If I lose the vote I will happily walk. For those who vote against me, if they lose, they should walk and we’ll unify around fixing the game”.

    McLennan has been approached for comment.

    The six state unions believe they have sufficient votes locked in to oust McLennan, with nine of the available 16 votes.

    The rebel state unions did not include NSW Rugby, the Waratahs, Rugby Victoria, the Melbourne Rebels or the Rugby Union Players Association in their plans to roll McLennan, which were formulated in a series of secret phone hook-ups recently.

    McLennan believes the Waratahs, Rebels and Force will vote for him and if Rugby Victoria, NSW Rugby and RUPA all side with the chairman, too, McLennan must flip one of the rebel state unions to survive.

    But that may depend on how quickly an EGM is called, given the Waratahs deed of ownership is due to be transferred to Rugby Australia on January 1, 2024. After that, the Waratahs vote has to be voided under the RA constitution, and that could increase the rebel unions’ majority from 9-7 to 9-6.

    NSW Rugby last week officially signed over the Waratahs to Rugby Australia as part of the governing body’s centralisation plans and the Rebels are poised to also “integrate” with RA shortly.

    Rebels chairman Paul Docherty issued a public statement of support for McLennan on Saturday, saying Melbourne believed the best path towards a new and effective centralised structure for Australian rugby was continuing under the McLennan plan. Docherty is also a Rugby Victoria director and the Rebels are closely aligned with the state union.

    The NSW Rugby Union board were due to have a phone hook-up on Sunday afternoon to discuss their position in the event of an EGM being called. Given the deed of ownership isn’t officially transferred to Rugby Australia until January 1, NSWRU still holds the Waratahs vote – and three in total.

    Following a statement of support on Saturday from Andrew and Nicola Forrest – who own the Western Force – McLennan is confident the Perth Super Rugby franchise will vote for him.

    The Rugby Union Players Association board determines how its vote is deployed, and chief executive Justin Harrison said on Sunday the players’ union was still in an information gathering phase.

    The RUPA board comprises Wallabies and NSW Dave Porecki (president), ACT lock Cadeyrn Neville, Reds and Wallabies forward Fraser McReight, Wallabies and Rebels fullback Andrew Kellaway, Waratahs lock Hugh Sinclair, Wallabies and Force prop Tom Robertson, Wallaroos and Waratahs forward Emily Chancellor, Aussie sevens stars Charlotte Caslick and Henry Hutchison, chairman Campbell Fisher and Lendlease executive Penny Ransom.

    McLennan said he believed the rebel state unions’ move is “an attempted coup” by the Brumbies and the Queensland Rugby, and is directly linked their opposition of centralisation reforms being pursued by Rugby Australia.


    While all states are on record as supporting high-performance alignment, the QRU and the Brumbies have said they will not follow NSW’s lead and sign over commercial control of their Super Rugby franchise.

    “The RA board should stand firm against the bullies,” McLennan told The Australian.

    “Three Super clubs are voting for me while two are against reform. All the money comes from the professional game.”

    https://amp.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-u...19-p5el2p.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    ...but on the evidence so far Tatterang seems to genuinely want to rebuild Rugby from grass roots up. And they are backing McLennan to get the reforms done.
    Have to say, I do find it a bit surprising that the Forrests are seemingly on-board with handing operational control of the Force over to RA again. Would be a little concerned this indicates them looking for an exit strategy, as I can't see how private ownership can co-exist with centralised administration of professional rugby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    Apparently that was an astute reading of the tea leaves, Burgs
    ...or not. Hard to believe The Roar got it wrong.

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    Emergency RA board meeting tonight.

    Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan has rejected a call for his resignation from six rebel state unions but the under-siege official remains under pressure from the RA board, who will meet on Sunday night to vote on his future.

    Ahead of a 5pm deadline on Sunday afternoon, McLennan declared he did not intend to stand down after being sent a joint letter of no confidence by the Queensland, ACT, West Australian, South Australian, Tasmanian and Northern Territory state unions on Friday.

    But in a further development, the RA board is set to stage an emergency meeting on Sunday night – its fourth in two days – to further consider McLennan’s position as chairman.

    The RA board can elect to remove McLennan as chairman and elect a new director into the role, and sources close to the boardroom discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the talks, said the board had been split in its support for McLennan over the weekend.

    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-u...19-p5el2p.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyS View Post
    Have to say, I do find it a bit surprising that the Forrests are seemingly on-board with handing operational control of the Force over to RA again. Would be a little concerned this indicates them looking for an exit strategy, as I can't see how private ownership can co-exist with centralised administration of professional rugby.
    They are hardly going to hand over control. As far as McLennan is concerned it's OK to express personal support but when it come to the vote and the numbers are counted the Forrest's do not back losers. And let's not forget that they are still or were talking about being the lender to keep RA above water.

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    Hamish McLennan out of Rugby Australia after late night board meeting

    Hamish McLennan is no longer the chairman of Rugby Australia after he was ousted in a late night board meeting and resigned as a director.

    Rugby Australia’s board met three times over the weekend after some of the organisation’s most powerful stakeholders went public with their demand for Mr McLennan, who is also the chairman of REA Group, to resign.

    Mr McLennan has earlier told The Australian Financial Review that he would not step down even as rugby executives from several states including Queensland prepared to call an extraordinary general meeting and have him dismissed over his direction and leadership of the game.

    “As Tom Petty famously sung, I won’t back down,” Mr McLennan said on Sunday. “This is a classic case of the tail wagging the dog.”

    On Sunday evening, Mr McLennan confirmed he has resigned from the board of directors after losing the chairmanship.

    The stand-off over Mr McLennan’s position had escalated existing tensions between the state unions, sponsors, and executives, and threatened to further draw out an already long dispute over the future of the game.

    The unions and Super Rugby clubs from Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and the ACT wrote to Mr McLennan on Friday and had initially given him until Saturday afternoon to consider his position (it was later extended to Sunday).

    Their letter, which has since been made public, said the move was to do with Mr McLennan’s cultural fit rather than Rugby Australia’s plans to create a united high-performance structure and take control of their commercial decisions.

    “We no longer have any trust or faith in his leadership, or the direction in which he is taking rugby in Australia,” the letter reads. “His decisions and ‘captain’s picks’ have directly led to a historic failure at the men’s Rugby World Cup and a Wallabies international ranking at a historic low, with all the regrettable and public fallout that came with it.”

    Rugby Australia is overseen by a board of directors, but is owned by state and territory rugby unions, the owners of the Super Rugby bodies and the Rugby Union Players’ Association.

    The board of directors includes former rugby players Joe Roff and Daniel Herbert, Virgin Australia co-founder Brett Godfrey, Barrenjoey’s head of corporate finance, Matt Hanning, former Salesforce chief executive Pip Marlow and non-executive directors Dr Jane Wilson and Karen Penrose. Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh also sits on the board.

    Sources familiar with the position of the directors, who weren’t authorised to speak publicly, had said that there were divisions over whether to back Mr McLennan in light of the concerns of some shareholders.

    Australian rugby descended into turmoil after the Wallabies failed to reach the knockout stage in the Rugby World Cup and coach Eddie Jones was reported to be flirting with a return to Japan. Jones has since resigned from his position – less than 10 months into a five-year contract.

    Much of the fallout since has focused on the appointment of Mr Jones by the Rugby Australia board and Mr McLennan. It has also culminated in discussions about a new operating model, which would see high-performance coaches and training nationalised and Super Rugby clubs handing over their commercial functions to Rugby Australia.

    While the clubs are supportive of a national high-performance division, there are disputes over the handling of money by Rugby Australia. At the same time, it has abandoned plans to inject $250 million in private equity in favour of a new $60 million loan. The loan has not yet been secured.

    Mr McLennan had earlier urged ACT and Queensland rugby union members to call their own extraordinary general meetings and oust their own chairmen, on the grounds they had instigated a fight with him.

    “They didn’t have the good grace to include NSW, Victoria and The [Western] Force in their secret discussions,” he said. “These are the same people who have told RA board members they have a coordinated campaign to discredit me if I don’t resign.”

    On Saturday, Andrew and Nicola Forrest, who own the Western Force, and Melbourne Rebels chairman, Paul Docherty, came out supporting Mr McLennan. “We can’t land years of problems at the feet of one person. We are all custodians of the game for a short time, and our goal should be to come together, not to create more division,” Mr Docherty said.

    The Forrests said Mr McLennan was steering rugby through a “difficult period”. “Now is not the time for more disruption in the sport, but a time for rugby to band together and back the proposed centralisation reforms,” they said in a joint statement on Saturday.

    NSW Rugby, which was not consulted by other unions and last week agreed to hand over all corporate and performance functions to Rugby Australia, has yet to outline its position on Mr McLennan’s position.

    This public fight could not come at a worse time for Rugby Australia which is in the middle of an independent review into what went wrong at the World Cup and has already made headlines for poor performance and the way it spends its money.

    The review, led by former Wallaby Justin Harrison, is expected to assess everything from coaching and player performance to costs and corporate hospitality. Rugby sources previously told this masthead that Jones, at the very least, had blown his budget.

    https://www.afr.com/companies/sport/...0231119-p5el2d

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