ARU and Super Rugby reps move towards collaboration

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Key Australian rugby figures are working towards a new high performance model, begun with a meeting in Sydney this week.

ARU chairman Cameron Clyne, directors Brett Robinson and John Eales, high performance manager Ben Whitaker and community rugby manager Andrew Larratt were all part of the meeting, along with Australia's Super Rugby CEOs, chairmen and high performance managers.

The Western Force was the only franchise not represented, given its uncertain future in Super Rugby, while the Rebels were only invited in recent days after news they would be in Super Rugby in 2018.

QRU chairman Damien Frawley said the meeting, which covered a range of topics, was 'honest', with the aim of creating more collaboration between states and the national union.

"Given the events of the past few months, we and the ARU agreed that it was important to come together and to be honest with each other about the challenges we are all facing, and to identify some solutions that can be achieved with a common purpose," he said in a statement.

"One area we agree we can have a significant impact is in High Performance, where improved alignment can carry the game forward in Australia.

"It was a constructive and collaborative meeting and the group looks forward to reaching a point where the game can implement the emerging action points."

Badne Stephenson is the new Rebels CEO. Photo: SuppliedRobinson said the group had begun to bring together a plan for the future.

“It was a good, open and extremely positive discussion between some of the key leaders in Australian Rugby and we have come away from that with a plan and a focus on working through that plan in stages," he said.

“The collective leadership of the game are owning the fact that we are underachieving on the field at all levels of the professional game and have committed to fundamental reform in how to drive successful Wallabies and Super Rugby teams.

"In simple terms, we have committed to developing ‘one plan’ for the game to move forward in the area of performance.

 “Recognition was given to work undertaken in developing the National High Performance system by national and Super Rugby performance leaders over the past year which will enable our project milestones to be met.

“We acknowledge that due to the current process underway concerning the future of Super Rugby in Australia that the meeting was not attended by Western Force or RugbyWA representatives. It was decided in final stages of planning for the meeting to extend an invitation to the Melbourne Rebels to attend, and they were represented by their CEO, Baden Stephenson.”

The next stage of the plan will expand to logistics and scheduling, with a working group established to create a draft plan within the next 30 days.