VRU, RUPA vote for ARU EGM

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Australian Super Rugby saga is getting messy, with the Victorian Rugby Union and the Players' Association voting for a special general meeting of the ARU board.

The meeting will seek transparency from the ARU regarding the decision as to whether the Force or Rebels will be cut.

It will also move to bring all board members together to determine the best course of action regarding rugby's future in Australia.

RUPA officials met with Rebels players in Melbourne after training yesterday and action has now followed.

Responding to the movement, ARU Chairman Cameron Clyne said a meeting will be held in the next seven days.ARU Chairman Cameron Clyne says the board will meet in the next seven days. Photo: Getty ImagesBut an EGM requires 21 days notice under the Corporations Act, so the meeting will not be in an official capacity.

"We acknowledge the request by the VRU, supported by RUPA, for a special General Meeting," Clyne said.

"We must provide 21 days notice to voting members to convene a General Meeting, however in order to prevent further delays the Board is willing to meet with the major stakeholders within a shorter time-frame to detail as much information as we are able on the current process regarding Super Rugby.

"We will aim to hold this meeting within the next seven days."

RUPA CEO Ross Xenos was scathing in a RUPA statement released this afternoon.

"The ARU’s intent to axe an Australian Super Rugby team has lacked transparency and consultation with key stakeholders," he said.Rebels captain Nic Stirzaker has called for a decision as soon as possible. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"Today’s unanimous RUPA Board resolution illustrates the commitment of players from all across the country to take action towards a constructive solution to this ongoing fiasco.

“The ongoing uncertainty and secrecy of this process continues to do unprecedented damage to the reputation of the game and has placed unacceptable distress on players and their families.

"In every Australian team there are players and staff whose livelihoods and wellbeing have been compromised through this protracted process.

"If there is no clear way forward for Australian rugby that provides the necessary cost savings to justify altering our current professional rugby footprint in the middle of this broadcast cycle, then it’s about time we stopped uppercutting ourselves, backed the retention of five Super Rugby teams and got on with fighting our common enemies outside the tent."

The Force have mounted a spirited campaign in their quest for survival. Photo: Getty ImagesXenos also questioned the ARU's rumoured move to buy the Rebels from Andrew Cox - for a reported asking price of $6 million.

"The most consistent narrative we hear from the ARU is about the financial challenges the game faces and how tough times are," he said.

"Axing an Australian team and disenfranchising a rugby community was justified five weeks ago by the ARU based on financial savings.

"Now, anywhere between six to ten million dollars promised to be invested into the game, including at the grassroots level, could be burned so that the ARU can cull a team and save face around the SANZAAR table.

"Why are we are cutting a team at all and limiting Australian rugby’s future if there are such discretionary funds within the game that ARU can afford to buy a license, only to scrunch it up and throw it away?"

RUPA are expected to make further comment tomorrow.