- Hamish McLennan’s tenure at RA appears to be on thin ice
- Six state representatives have demanded he walk away
- Follows Eddie Jones as ‘captain’s pick’ ahead of World Cup
- Also criticism after signing NRL young gun Joseph Suaalii
- If McLennan doesn’t walk from RA, likely he will be sacked
Embattled Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan appears to be on borrowed time after multiple calls for his resignation.
Six fed-up state representatives have demanded he walk away, with Queensland Rugby chair Brett Clark declaring on Friday McLennan ‘is not the right cultural fit for how we want our game to be represented.’
It comes after McLennan hired Eddie Jones as Wallabies coach – which proved to be a disaster – after Australia failed to progress beyond the group stage at the World Cup for the first time.
He was also responsible for signing Sydney Roosters NRL young gun Joseph Suaalii on a whopping $5.3million multi-year contract from 2025.
Now McLennan has lost support from most constituents in Australia because he ‘exerts an undue influence on the operations and executives of Rugby Australia’.
The six member unions called for McLennan’s immediate resignation and if he doesn’t walk away, they will call an extraordinary annual general meeting in the next fortnight where his fate is set to be sealed, according to News Corp.
Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan appears to be on borrowed time after multiple calls for his resignation
The development comes after McLennan hired Eddie Jones as Wallabies coach and Australia failed to progress beyond the group stage at the World Cup for the first time
One source said: ‘We are giving Hamish the opportunity to step down with dignity.
‘But if he decides not to, we will have the votes to move him on. He is a dead man walking.’
McLennan is also pushing for state and territories to work under a centralised model, which has been met with plenty of criticism.
Only the NSW Waratahs have signed the agreement at this stage, which will see RA run their operations from January 1 next year.
Just nine votes are required to oust McLennan, meaning if he digs his heels in, he won’t be able to contest the outcome.
A letter penned by the state representatives called for McLennan to resign immediately, citing a ‘lack of faith in his leadership, or the direction in which he is taking rugby in Australia.’
They also believe McLennan has not been ‘acting in the best interests’ of the code.
McLennan was responsible for signing Sydney Roosters NRL star Joseph Suaalii on a whopping $5.3million multi-year contract from 2025
‘During the past 12 months, Mr McLennan has made a series of calls that have harmed the standing and reputation of our game and led us to question his judgement and his understanding of high-performance sport,’ the letter continued.
‘His decisions and ‘captain’s picks’ have directly led to a historic failure at the men’s Rugby World Cup and a Wallabies international ranking at a historic low.
‘In addition to this, Mr McLennan’s use of player poaching to threaten other sports and boost our own stocks and performance alienates us from having collaborative conversations with the other major sports to improve participation across the Australian community.
‘If we don’t make the necessary changes to the leadership of our game now, these opportunities will be lost and our game will continue to flounder for decades to come.’
ACT Rugby chair Matt Nobbs stated McLennan ‘is not the right person to take us forward’, while WA Rugby chair John Edwards expressed his concern about the ‘fiscal management of the governing body’ and will be asking McLennan to ‘stand down now for the good of our game.’
On Saturday, McLennan reportedly said he plans to fight for his position.
‘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.’