The Rugby Australia Board held its final meeting for 2019 in Sydney today.
At the meeting the Board heard an update on the review of the Wallabies 2019 season and Rugby World Cup campaign, updates on Rugby Australia’s High Performance plan and player contracting, and an update on the 2027 Rugby World Cup bid process. Departmental updates were also presented on Finance, Community Rugby and Commercial.
Rugby Australia Chairman, Cameron Clyne said: “The Board extends special thanks to the 900-plus Rugby clubs Australia-wide and all volunteers for their hard work over the 2019 season to grow and nurture our game. Without them, none of the game’s achievements would be possible and there are many positives to take from the past twelve months.”
“The Rugby World Cup in Japan was enjoyed over 40,000 Australian travellers – second only behind English fans as the most to attend the tournament. The World Cup also gave Australian Rugby its highest representation of match officials since 2003 with both Angus Gardner and Nic Berry taking the whistle.
“The hard work has already begun for the Wallabies as we build towards France 2023, and we are excited for the future after securing Dave Rennie as the new Wallabies Head Coach. It was encouraging to see the Rugby community embrace Dave’s appointment with 86% of facebook followers and 70% of Instagram followers reacting positively to the news last month.
“We look forward to sharing the next steps from the review and our plans to return the team to its rightful place at the top of the world rankings."
Clyne highlighted positive developments in player contracting with a host of talented youngsters signing on with Australian Rugby, and continued participation growth across each format.
“The Junior Wallabies came within a point of bringing home the Under 20’s World Cup, and then our Schools & Under 18s team completed an undefeated tour of New Zealand. Importantly, the vast majority of these young stars of the future have been secured in our game long term,” he said.
“The Buildcorp Wallaroos played more Tests than ever before this year and against this backdrop, women’s participation experienced double-digit growth for the third consecutive year.
“As we look towards the 2020 Olympic Games the sevens format is continuing to grow in popularity, with 41 spring and summer competitions kicking off across the country over the past two months.
“Over 30 clubs ran our new Get into Rugby program in clubs in 2019, introducing hundreds of new players of all ages to the game by giving them a sample of each of our three formats – fifteens, sevens and Touch 7s.”
Clyne also addressed recent media speculation surrounding the position of Chief Executive, Raelene Castle and the game’s current media rights negotiations.
“Raelene’s position is not in question and the Board is united behind the process undertaken with Israel Folau.
“2020 is an important year with the broadcast rights negotiations underway and we remain in dialogue with our long-term partner Fox Sports as we aim to deliver the strongest levels of coverage for all of our competitions over the next five-year cycle,” said Clyne.