Pressure mounts on Rugby Australia boss to step down
WORLD CUP SPOTLIGHT: Billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest has blamed the leadership of Rugby Australia for the Wallabies’ failings at the recent World Cup, saying he will barrack hard for “other people” to take over.
The Wallabies were thumped 40-16 by England in the quarterfinals, continuing a bleak period for rugby in Australia both on and off the field.
Forrest has been scathing of Rugby Australia’s management team, lead by chairman Cameron Clyne, ever since the Western Force were booted out of Super Rugby’s ranks in 2017.
Calls are growing louder for Clyne and chief executive Raelene Castle to quit immediately in the wake of the disastrous World Cup campaign.
Forrest will launch a new competition called Global Rapid Rugby in March next year, and he’s confident it will breathe new life into rugby in Australia.
The six-team competition will feature experimental rule changes designed to promote attractive rugby.
The Force is set to be joined by a team from New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Hong Kong, and Malaysia for the first season, with expansion planned for later years.
Forrest is excited about the ways Global Rapid Rugby can change the landscape, but he was scathing of the negative influence the RA board has had on the Wallabies.
“I put everything down to leadership,” Forrest replied when asked about the Wallabies’ failings at the World Cup.
“I’m surprised they did as well as they had with the decisions that the Rugby Australia chairman and board have made.
“I was really sad, I was hoping for a miracle of course but life is like that.”
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Forrest is still filthy about the decision to axe the Force from Super Rugby.
“It’s just completely ridiculous, unfair, un-Australian. But who cares – Global Rapid Rugby is here and it’s going to be super strong,” he said.
“Without us it [Australian rugby] would be really on its tail. We are the brightest good news story on Australian rugby in the Southern Hemisphere.”
When asked whether he would be interested in taking over as chairman from Clyne, Forrest replied: “I’m a busy bloke, but I’m a passionate supporter of rugby and WA.
“I’ll be barracking for other people.”
The Force will be back in action on Saturday when they host the Canberra Vikings in the NRC grand final at UWA Sports Park in Perth.
Forrest will donate $100 000 to charity Telethon for each try the Force scores.
He will also donate $25 000 for each try the Vikings score.
Forrest revealed he knocked back the chance to have lunch with Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday in order to attend the match.
The decider could be a high-scoring affair if the semifinals are anything to go by.
The Force beat Brisbane City 42-38, while Canberra beat Fijian Drua 28-27 courtesy of Noah Lolesio’s conversion after the final siren.