Former Wallabies flanker Simon Poidevin says Australian rugby needs to work together, as the code beings its transition into a new era under Raelene Castle.
Poidevin, speaking to RUGBY.com.au before the appointment of Castle as CEO, said the sport had to cooperate better to move forward, a sentiment that many have echoed this year, with more frequent national gatherings, among coaches and executives than in the past.
The 59-Test flanker was among a group of former Wallabies who forced Rugby Australia to review its strategic plan last year, over a lack of support for community rugby.
“You couldn't have had a worse year than 2017, so hopefully that's behind us,” he said.
“The thing with rugby in Australia is everyone's got to work together.
“You can't have Super Rugby provinces and the ARU working against each other.
"We've got to work with the talent pool we've got, because there's some immense athletes across those four Super Rugby provinces and unfortunately we've seen the demise of the Western Force.
“At the end of the day, a decision had to be made and a decision was made, (and) a lot of those players (are going to) stay on within the game in Australia and that's a very good thing.”
On the field, Poidevin had plenty of praise for Wallabies rookie Ned Hanigan, whose debut Test season received mixed responses from the public.
Hanigan said during the season that he wasn’t worried by social media comments and Poidevin said the 22-year-old’s rise through the ranks needed to be put into context.
“(Ned), he was only a Randwick colt three years ago,” he said.
“He's done immense things since that time.
“He's a guy who's got a huge work rate, he's got an awesome rugby brain on him.
“He's not the world's biggest guy right now but he's getting there and he's still very young.
“He's really put in this year and I thought a couple of times against the All Blacks this year he was really one of our standout players and the way he approached the physicality of those games.”
Poidevin also praised Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper, who stepped up into the full-time captaincy for the first time this season.
“You rarely see Michael Hooper come off the field these days and in a game that has got interchange and the ability to bring fresh players on, that's got to be admired and he's got a huge motor on him,” he said.
“He's got the toughness that he rarely gets injured and he's in the middle of the battle all the time.
“There's no better running support player in world rugby than Michael Hooper.”