Super cull: Embattled ARU 'fight back'

Thu, 18 May 2017 09:29
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REACTION: The Australia Rugby Union's beleaguered chiefs insist they have not botched their efforts to reduce the country's Super Rugby presence.

Their reaction comes in the wake of players calling the saga a "fiasco".

The Rugby Union Players Association on Wednesday unanimously backed a Victorian Rugby Union call for an emergency meeting of ARU voting members to examine the governing body's processes as the sport agonises over which team to axe from next year's competition.

The RUPA board, which includes Wallabies captain Stephen Moore and fellow Test stars Bernard Foley, James Slipper and Scott Sio, have blasted the ARU for a lack of transparency and consultation "in this ongoing fiasco".

It follows the ARU announcing in April that either the Western Force or Melbourne Rebels would be cut from the Southern Hemisphere competition along with two South African teams in 2018.

ARU chairman Cameron Clyne, who has agreed to the meeting, denied the culling process had been botched.

"Nothing could be more incorrect," he told The Australian newspaper Thursday

"We haven't botched the process. We have been very clear about how the process is being run but a lot of that has got lost.

"There is no floundering. We are responding to people who are desperate to stay in the competition."

RUPA vehemently opposes any reduction in the number of Australian teams, presenting various models to the ARU for consideration by Super Rugby's governing body SANZAAR which support the retention of all five franchises.

Clyne said the ARU did not have a fallback plan.

"We are just focusing on working towards our stated position of having four [Australian] teams," he said.

RUPA Chief Executive Ross Xenos believes the threatened Rebels could potentially be bought by the ARU for up to AU$10-million (US$7.4-million) and then shut down.

"The most consistent narrative we hear from the ARU is about the financial challenges the game faces and how tough times are," Xenos told the newspaper.

"Axing an Australian team and disenfranchising a rugby community was justified five weeks ago by the ARU on financial savings.

"Now, AU$6- to $10-million promised to be invested into the game, including at grassroots level, could be burned so that the ARU can cull a team and save face around the SANZAAR table."

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 29 July 2017
Crusaders v Chiefs 07h35 Christchurch
Golden Lions v Griquas 10h00 Johannesburg
Lions v Hurricanes 12h30 Ellis Park
Sharks v Pumas 15h00 Durban
Sun, 30 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Western Province 12h30 Bloemfontein
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 43 | 36
Sat, 22 July 2017
Griquas v Blue Bulls 45 | 51
Stormers v Chiefs 11 | 17
Lions v Sharks 23 | 21
Crusaders v Highlanders 17 | 0
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 47 | 12
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28