Rugby Australia to announce first phase of restructuring this week

Rugby Australia will reportedly announce the first phase of a wholesale organisational restructuring this week.

The reports come after Rugby Australia lodged their 2019 financial report that provisionally flagged a $9.4 million loss.

The long hard road for Rugby Australia

Interim chief executive Rob Clarke has the unenviable task of steering the embattled organisation through wholesale changes in the midst of planning a domestic Super Rugby return in July and attempting to secure a broadcast deal beyond this year.

Clarke confirmed the next steps for Rugby Australia this weekend.

“The audited and signed accounts have been submitted today, and our 2019 annual report will be published in the coming days,” Clarke said.

“This week we will also announce the first phase of an organisational restructure of the Rugby Australia business, which we are in the final stages of completing.”

Rugby Australia were forced to retrench more than 100 staff to cope with the financial losses associated with the ongoing global pandemic, while former CEO Raelene Castle exited amid a mountain of criticism against the game’s administration.

Not all doom and gloom

The organisation will hope that they have staved off complete collapse and that stop-gap competitions will prevent further losses.

A Bledisloe Cup series against the All Blacks is in the works and Australia are considering a Trans-Tasman franchise series at some point, while South Africa may be forced to reevaluate their partnership with their Southern Hemisphere rivals.

Australia’s Super Rugby clubs have been forced to cut staff as well, though the proposed five-team domestic franchise tournament looks likely to go ahead soon.

The competition, set to feature the recalled Western Force, will be known as Super Rugby AU, is expected to kick-off on July 3. 

Rugby Australia have work to do

Rugby Australia are believed to be considering whether to implement any of World Rugby’s ten optional temporary law amendments designed to help reduce the risk of transmission of the virus, in the competition.

World Rugby’s executive committee approved the optional law trials which cover scrum, tackle, ruck and maul situations in May and issued them alongside guidelines for the return to play.

National Unions can apply to implement one or more of the temporary law amendments in domestic trials in line with the World Rugby’s return to play guidance.

Rugby Australia still have plenty of hoops to jump through before they can get players back on the field which will involve discussions with World Rugby, broadcasters and SANZAAR.

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