Kearns tight-lipped on board aspirations

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Former Wallaby Phil Kearns expects “big changes” to come in the Australian rugby landscape with a new Wallabies coach and a board overhaul but he was keeping tight-lipped about whether he would be part of that change.

Kearns’ name is never far from discussion when it comes to speculation about administrative vacancies and that reared its head again after Cameron Clyne’s decision to stand down.

Clyne will not seek reappointment at March’s AGM, leaving certainly three board positions vacant in the new year with Brett Robinson reaching his maximum term and Ann Sherry’s resignation.

Paul McLean is also believed to have been considering his position, despite having the option of another term.

Kearns dismissed the notion he might be considering putting himself in the mix for a position on the board.

“I'm not even thinking about anything else so what happens in the administration is way beyond me,” he said at the International Rugby Academy Australia launch on Friday..

“Four board members, a new coach, a new review, a whole bunch of things so it looks like there's going to be a change.

“You never know whether that change is going to be positive or not.

“We'll just wait and see.”

Kearns’ former teammate and ex-captain John Eales said a dose of “renewal” could be a positive for Rugby Australia but defended former chairman Cameron Clyne when asked about his tenure on Friday.

Eales served on the Rugby Australia board until 2018, much of which was served under Clyne and said the recently resigned chairman faced tougher challenges than the public might realise.

“I think any organisation, you're always looking for renewal at all levels and you've got to always be looking for that,” he said.

“There's been some very tough things that Cameron's had to be a part of and I think what people don't, not everyone, but some people do, but I think what a lot of people who comment don't appreciate is some of the structural difficulties that have been around,” he said.

“Financial difficulties, limits a lot of the things you can do, so I think it hasn't been easy for him to work within those constraints.”