Rugby AU looking for unity

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Rugby Australia launched a new community-focused campaign on Monday and it appeared to be a timely moment for the code.

Wallabies coach MIchael Cheika and Rugby AU CEO Raelene Castle were both in attendance as the #partofmore campaign, including a host of community figures, was launched.

Castle only took the reins at Rugby AU late last year but said the campaign, which profiles a number of people across the Australian rugby community, was important for the code.

"I think rugby hasn't always done a great job of recognising that it is a sport that is played across the whole of Australia and that's what this shows," she said.

"It shows the essence of communities and often binds those communities together."

It's a mentality Cheika has often used to speak about his team and said he hoped his side could help be influential in developing a connection between the professional and grassroots parts of rugby.

"Maybe we haven't told ourselves enough that we're part of something really good over the last few years," he said.

"We've been told there's all these things wrong and all this and I would like to think that all the people at club level, junior level, feel like they're part of the Wallabies and we can feel like we're part of them too."

In a week where plenty of sporting fans have been questioning the culture of Australia's cricket team, Cheika was confident his team's culture was up to scratch. praising the development of his leaders in recent seasons.

"All is well in our team's culture, no doubt about it," he said.

"I don't see any type of parallels.

"We've got a great group of players who have learned while they compete against each other on a regular basis, so they're knocking lumps our of each other and week to week they're still connected with each other, leaders of the team.

"They're starting to understand as they get more experience how to balance being competitive with each other to being together and loving each other when they join in with the Australian jersey.

"Really liking what I'm seeing around that.

"(We need to) keep moving forward and keep maintaining high standards around that.

"If you don't, people aren't ensuring high standards then there won't be high standards."

Click here to watch the full #partofMore film series.