‘Will the RA board stand up to a few states?’ McLennan to learn fate as RA to VOTE on embattled chair’s future


Rugby Australia will determine the immediate fate of under-siege chairman Hamish McLennan, with the board set to vote on his future at an 8pm on Sunday night.

“Let’s see what happens. Will the RA board stand up to a few states?” McLennan told News Corp.

The decision to vote follows two days of emergency meetings, which came after Queensland Rugby Union chairman Brett Clark phoned McLennan on Friday evening and asked his counterpart to resign.

Later that night, six member unions wrote a letter requesting McLennan step aside, citing a lack of confidence in his leadership.

“We do not believe Mr McLennan has been acting in the best interests of our game,” the letter read.

“We no longer have any trust or faith in his leadership, or the direction in which he is taking rugby in Australia.

“Additionally, we believe Mr McLennan has been acting outside his role as a director, exerting an undue influence on the operations and executives of Rugby Australia.”

Should the board vote to keep McLennan as chairman, it’s likely the six rebel member unions will call on an Extraordinary General Meeting in a bid to vote him out.

The EGM would have to be held within 60 days.

The Rugby Australia board will vote on chairman Hamish McLennan’s future on Sunday night. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

As well as leading the charge to bring back Eddie Jones as Wallabies coach to spearhead their 2023 World Cup campaign, McLennan has attempted to usher through reform changes, including implementing a centralised model.

While all five Super Rugby franchises have agreed in principle to RA’s high performance plans, the national body has faced difficulties to convince all parties to jump on board with all the details yet to be ironed out.

Some, including the ACT Brumbies and Queensland Reds, don’t want to hand over commercial control to RA either.

Earlier this week, the NSW Rugby Union became the first member union to sign up for RA’s alignment plan. It came with NSW financially in huge strife.

The six rebel member unions said their letter calling for change was not in response to RA’s reform measures but the lack of confidence in McLennan.

“This request is not about opposition to Rugby Australia’s centralisation proposals– we remain committed to supporting high-performance alignment,” the letter continued.

“This is instead a deep concern about the performance of Mr McLennan as Chair, and the damage done to the game by his performance.”

Several influential figures, including Andrew and Nicola Forrest as well as Cadbury boss Darren O’Brien, have come out in support of McLennan.

“Hamish is steering rugby through a very difficult period from the complete mess that he inherited,” the Forrests said in a statement to The Australian.

“Yes, we would have all preferred a win at the World Cup, but this is not going to happen unless we rebuild national rugby from the grassroots up.

“As the community grassroots investment starts to feed through, we look forward to much better results in the years ahead.

“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.

“We support the efforts Hamish and the existing board are making to centralise high performance and improve governance to ensure Australian rugby administration is focused on what’s best for the game, its players and fans.”

After days of tense meetings, The Roar understands RA chief executive Phil Waugh will have crucial meetings with Western Australia stakeholders in Perth.

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