ARU should be worried about Rebels' action: Kearns

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by AAP & Beth Newman

Former Wallabies skipper Phil Kearns says the ARU should be ‘panicking’ about potential legal action from the Rebels as the Super Rugby aga continues to drag on.

The Rebels released an extraordinary statement about the process last Friday night, signalling their anger over a number of factors, including a claim that the ARU failed to mention they believed the five-team model was unsustainable when they sold the franchise in 2015.

When announcing Australia would be cutting one of the Rebels or the Force last week, ARU chairman Cameron Clyne said they felt the model was financially unviable almost as soon as it came to fruition.

Kearns, also experienced in the corporate world, speaking on FOX SPORTS’ Kick and Chase, said he would be seriously worried if he were in the ARU’s position on Friday night.

“If I was in the ARU’s shoes I’d probably be panicking,” he said.

“If I was in the shoes of Andrew Cox and the Rebels owners I’d be saying, “Game on boys, let’s go down this (legal) path  because we’ve been sold something which they (The ARU) knew, that they’ve said knowingly since, that’s incorrect’.

“When you sell something generally, you make certain representations and warranties that what you are selling is actually true, and you make sure it’s actually true.

“Well, it wasn’t true, we’ve had that admitted to us now and tha’ts partly what the Rebels will claiming if there is any court action.”

Meanwhile, the fact that the issue has still not been resolved has not surprised Brumbies flanker Scott Fardy, who took aim at SANZAAR’s ‘faceless men’ on Tuesday.

"It's disappointing it's taken this long but is anyone surprised? This is the game we're in, it's been like this for a long time," he said.

"The officialdom in this game has always been like that."

While the ARU has come under fire for their handling of the process, the Test backrower said Super Rugby's governing body lacked a public face.

"Obviously everyone looks at the ARU at the moment but you wouldn't know who the head of SANZAAR is at any point - I wouldn't know what he looks like," Fardy said.

"In other sports, especially in Australia, you have a head we can look at. In SANZAAR rugby we don't know who is running it.

"It's faceless men in suits in board rooms."

Fardy, who is leaving the Brumbies at the end of the season to join Irish powerhouse Leinster, said he felt for Force and Rebels players, as well as others affected by a moratorium on contract talks for non-Wallabies.

"It's guys' livelihoods," Fardy said.

"It's incredibly tough for players to have go through that."

He said he supported the Rugby Union Players' Association's position of backing five Australian teams, but accepted Super Rugby needed structural change.

"I'm hoping that with all that stuff we get change so we're not having these conversations in five or ten years' time," Fardy said.

"Hopefully we see changes for the benefit of rugby and this competition gets better from it."

Catch Kick and Chase every Tuesday night on FOX SPORTS ONE 501 at 6:30pm and 8:30pm AEST.