Rugby Australia

NZ's Raelene Castle steps down from chief executive position at Rugby Australia

Castle, who took a 50 percent pay cut and laid off 75 percent of Rugby Australia (RA) staff, saying the body faced losses of up to $120 million if no more rugby was played this year, was under pressure to resign.

Eleven former Wallabies players, including Nick Farr-Jones, George Gregan and Michael Lynagh, had also signed a letter earlier this week demanding a leadership change at the RA.

"I love rugby on every level and I will always love the code and the people I have had the honour of working with since I took this role," Castle said.

Former Wallabies captains demand Rugby Australia leadership change

The letter, signed by the likes of Nick Farr-Jones, George Gregan and Michael Lynagh, alleges mismanagement at RA, which is struggling to keep rugby afloat during the global sporting shutdown.

"In recent times, the Australian game has lost its way," the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper quoted from the letter.

"It is a defeat inflicted not by Covid-19, or an on-field foe, but rather by poor administration and leadership over a number of years.

Good progress made in Rugby Australia pays talks with players

Castle, Rugby AU directors Phil Waugh and Daniel Herbert, RUPA chairman Campbell Fisher and CEO Justin Harrison and representatives from Australia's national teams and four Super Rugby teams were on a two-hour video conference on Tuesday.

In a statement Castle said she felt "good progress" was made in the hookup.

RUPA is set to go back to its members to communicate the results of the meeting, something that appears to be the key in working towards a deal.

'He's a very, very good player': The potential Wallabies star Will Genia believes is the real deal

Genia is back in Brisbane amid the coronavirus pandemic after spending a season with the Kintestsu Liners in Japan’s second-tier Top Challenge League following last year’s failed World Cup campaign with the Wallabies.

During his time back in Australia, the 32-year-old has been working with McDermott after fielding a call from Reds attack coach Jim McKay to help aid the development of the incumbent Queensland halfback.

Former Wallabies star Quade Cooper reveals ambitions to play NRL this year

The 32-year-old is back in Brisbane after wrapping up his debut season with the Kintetsu Liners in Japan’s second-tier Top Challenge League in January.

Cooper still has another eight months until he is due to return to Japan for playing duties, and is contemplating asking Kintestu for permission to explore a short-term NRL deal before the June 30 transfer deadline.

Rugby Australia continue pay talks

The governing body recently stood down 75 per cent of its workforce for three months - a move described as "the toughest decision in the game's history" - as it deals with the cost of the coronavirus crisis that has halted the Super Rugby season.

Remaining staff have been offered significant salary reductions or reduced hours, with chief executive Raelene Castle agreeing to a 50 per cent salary cut, while other executives will receive 30 per cent less from April 1 until June 30.

ARU stands down staff

The staff will be stood down from April 1-June 30 and remaining staff had been offered "significant" pay-cuts or reduced hours.

"Today we have had to deliver the hardest news imaginable to our incredible, hard-working and passionate staff, that many of them will be stood down for a three-month period so that the game can survive this unprecedented crisis," RA Chief Executive Raelene Castle said in a statement.

Planned domestic competition on hold as government restrictions tighten

On Sunday night, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison announced plans for a range of businesses and non-essential services to be shut down and encouraged people to avoid non-essential domestic travel.

The competition, set to involved Australia's four Super Rugby franchises and the Western Force, was slated to begin on April 3 but has now been pushed back until at least May 1 because of the new restrictions.

WA will shut down its borders after Tuesday, effectively halting any travel in or out of the state unless arrivals observe two-week quarantine periods.

Veteran prop James Slipper re-signs with Australia for two more years

The 96-Test star moved to Canberra at the end of 2018 and has since featured in every Super Rugby game for the Brumbies over his two seasons at the club.

Slipper made his debut for the Wallabies in 2010 against England in Perth and is now just four Tests shy of becoming Australia’s 11th Test centurion.

Wallabies prop James Slipper said: “I couldn’t be happier to be staying in Canberra for the next couple of years.”

“The club gave me an opportunity back in 2018 and I want to repay that show of faith by continuing to work hard and play well for the Brumbies.

Australian Rugby to raise money for bushfire relief

In a statement, Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle announced that for each try scored by the team at the Sydney 7s this year, $500 would be donated.

There is expected to be a number of other fundraising efforts announced in the coming weeks, with Rugby Australia working with Super Rugby franchises to coordinate these efforts.