Australian rugby has had a turbulent time in recent months (possibly years, even decades), but dwelling on that is not helpful. Instead, let’s focus on the future and when (not if) the sport regains stability, and the most urgent priorities for the reinvigorated leadership. With the new Rugby Australia (RA) chair Daniel Herbert and CEO Phil Waugh in charge, it is hoped that they will chart a path forward, unite the warring factions, and restore Australian rugby’s reputation for quality and innovation. If RA does its job effectively, the scoreboard should take care of itself.
Honest and open communication is crucial for the new leadership. The recent anguish of Wallabies players following their loss to Wales in the Rugby World Cup should serve as a wake-up call. Spin and empty promises must be replaced with straightforward honesty and truth. Rugby fans can see through insincerity, so it’s important to be real and constructive.
Children’s involvement in the sport is essential. Despite the challenges at the elite level, kids still love the game. It’s important to support established rugby schools and expand the game to more public schools. Providing kid-friendly rugby programs and training for teachers can help grow the sport at the grassroots level.
Skills development for players and coaches is also a priority. Quality rugby skills programs should be made available to schools and clubs, ensuring that young players are constantly improving. Additionally, a more robust approach to coaching skills and pathways is necessary to support the growth of the sport.
Australia’s women’s sevens team has been a shining example of success in rugby, yet they receive less attention than the Wallabies. It’s important to give them the recognition they deserve and share their success with the community and media.
Super Rugby Pacific is a valuable asset that can help promote the sport. Embracing the Pacific-style rugby and culture can elevate the competition to new heights, capturing the attention of fans and media. The new Super Rugby Pacific Commission has the potential to be a positive force for the tournament, restoring its integrity and making it an exciting and captivating event.
Overall, it’s important for the new leadership to focus on honesty, grassroots development, skills improvement, promoting women’s rugby, and maximizing the potential of Super Rugby Pacific. By focusing on these priorities, Australian rugby can regain its strength and reputation.