With Hamish McLennan stepping away from the top job at Rugby Australia, former Wallaby Greg Martin has shared a glowing endorsement for new chairman Daniel Herbert.
Australian rugby is in crisis – there’s no denying that. The Wallabies failed to make the quarterfinals at this year’s Rugby World Cup, and their coach Eddie Jones resigned a few weeks later.
Mark Nawaqanitawase has also caught the attention of NRL club the Sydney Roosters, with the Wallabies wing reportedly meeting with the Tricolours last week in Sydney. That’s not all, either.
Led by Queensland, six unions penned a public to McLennan and Rugby Australia asking for the chairman to resign. McLennan initially refused.
“This will be the defining moment for the battle of rugby. It’s all about money and control and we have been failing for years. We live in interesting times,” McLennan told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“This is about principles. They are actually not putting the game first and it’s about self-interest and parochialism.”
But that all came to an end earlier this week as McLennan was replaced by Rugby World Cup-winning Wallaby Daniel Herbert in the Rugby Australia hotseat.
While only time will tell as to whether or not this was a step in the right direction for RA to take, former Wallaby Greg Martin couldn’t have spoken any better about the “very positive” change.
“The boss Hamish McLennan is a completely egotistical, arrogant fool who said I’m not stepping down, what sort of an example would that set to my children?
“All the unions around Australia, apart from New South Wales – stinking cockroaches, they think they run the whole bloody thing.
“What I want to talk about is the good news: the new chairman is a gentleman called Daniel Herbert who played about 80 Tests for Australia, won a World Cup in 1999 with Australia, boy from Ashgrove (in Brisbane), born in Ashgrove. I love him.
“Thank God he’s now running Australian rugby. It’s a very positive thing.”
Just a couple of days into the role, Herbert has addressed one pressing issue within Australian rugby with what would surely be welcomed as a momentously important decision.
With no level between clubland commitments and Super Rugby in Australia – nothing like the NPC in New Zealand – Herbert suggested that a new tier of club-focused rugby may be formed.
“Clubs like GPS and many around Brisbane, many in Sydney and in other states…that’s where there is some real tribalism,” Herbert told reporters at Brisbane’s GPS Rugby Club on Monday.
“We have to build on that tribalism. Various models have been considered over the years so what that (competition) looks like will take some important engagement from unions and clubs.
“I think we can get it up for next year. Some discussions have taken place but we need to model it and see what it looks like.
“A lot of Wallabies coaches over the past decade have said that not playing enough games is one of our biggest issues for rising players.
“I remember one coach within the Wallabies saying that Richie Mo’unga had already played 100 first class matches by the time he reached the All Blacks. Noah Lolesio played perhaps 20 before becoming a Wallaby.
“Our players need to play more footy, more of the right footy.
“Phil and I both believe the tribalism at club level is very strong and the right competition can further grow the clubs.”