The recent leadership change at Rugby Australia has sparked hope for a new beginning in the sport. Hamish McLennan has stepped down as chairman, making way for former Wallaby Dan Herbert to take the helm. This transition brings the opportunity for fresh ideas, renewed vision, and a chance to restore dignity to the RA board.
McLennan’s departure was not unexpected, as many felt that his actions had surpassed his role as chairman. His attempt to justify the sacking of Dave Rennie and the hiring of Eddie Jones, without the presence of CEO Andy ‘Lex’ Marinos, raised concerns about his grasp of governance and the separation of duties. Furthermore, his disrespectful comments towards Rennie demonstrated a lack of professionalism and integrity.
However, it’s essential to acknowledge McLennan’s achievements during his tenure. He secured significant sponsorships, navigated the challenges posed the COVID-19 pandemic, and stood firmly against the condescending attitudes of Super Rugby’s cash allocations New Zealand representatives. These accomplishments reflect his dedication to the sport and its financial stability.
One notable achievement for McLennan was his instrumental role in bringing back Twiggy Forrest, the billionaire businessman behind Global Rapid Rugby, into the Australian rugby fold. Despite past conflicts and disagreements, McLennan successfully mended the relationship with Forrest, ultimately benefiting the Western Force team.
McLennan’s involvement in securing the Men’s and Women’s World Cups for Australia, while applauded some, has been questioned others. The perception that these victories were gifted to Australia World Rugby in an effort to support the struggling sport raises doubts about the true merit of McLennan’s role in their acquisition.
With Herbert’s appointment, Rugby Australia hopes to move forward with a more behind-the-scenes approach. However, concerns have been raised about the transition from being a player to an administrator. The cliché that “a good teacher doesn’t always make a good principal” is pertinent here, as both Herbert and new CEO Phil Waugh have backgrounds as former players. It remains to be seen how they will handle their new roles and contribute to the future success of the sport.
In conclusion, the leadership change at Rugby Australia signifies a new chapter for the sport and the potential for positive change. While McLennan had his successes, his departure paves the way for new ideas and strategies under Herbert’s quieter leadership style. It’s an exciting time for rugby enthusiasts, and we eagerly await what the future holds.