Rugby Australia and the NSW Rugby Union have agreed the first stage of Australian rugby’s strategic reset.
- From January 1, Rugby Australia will control the Waratahs’ high performance operations
- The NSW Rugby Union will continue to run the community game in the state
- RA boss Phil Waugh believes an aligned system is essential for the future of gaming in Australia
NSW becomes the first state member union to formally commit to Rugby Australia’s plan to align the sport across the country.
The agreement to centralize resources, responsibility for the operations of the professional entities of the Waratahs will be transferred to RA from January 1.
RA will assume responsibility for the Waratahs’ high-performance operations, assets, liabilities and commercial arrangements. All Waratahs employees will retain their current roles.
The NSW Rugby Union will continue to take full responsibility for the community game and deliver programs to increase participation and engagement in the sport across the state, in conjunction with the Waratahs and the RA.
This step will enable the Waratahs’ high performance professional (players, coaches, support staff) and commercial (sponsorship, marketing, membership, ticketing) operations to be fully integrated and aligned with RA’s commercial and high performance operations.
The Waratahs will be governed by a separate board of directors made up of representatives appointed by NSW Rugby and RA.
“We are taking this bold step because we strongly believe that the federated model of professional rugby in Australia is unsustainable and that meaningful reform is long overdue,” NSW Rugby chief Paul Doorn said.
“We are committed to eliminating the inherent conflicts and vested interests that have hindered meaningful progress in the past, and we are committed to aligning commercial and high performance operations between our club and Rugby Australia.
“I appreciate that questions are being asked about the level of confidence in RA’s ability to fully realize the benefits of integration.
“These are important questions, but our decision reflects a commitment to addressing any such concerns “inside the tent,” taking an active role in the most collaborative way possible.
“We are not content to sit on the sidelines of this much-needed reform any longer, and I hope all Super Rugby clubs follow our lead as we move towards an aligned Australian rugby ecosystem.”
RA boss Phil Waugh believes an aligned system is essential for the future of the game in Australia.
“We have a plan we are working on to unify the game: it will take the entire game to rebuild a system that delivers success on and off the field,” Waugh said.
“We have agreement with all five Australian Super Rugby clubs that we must pursue an aligned high performance system and pathways.
“There may be different models depending on the club, but the Waratahs have been very clear that they see great benefits in aligning their commercial operations with those of RA, as we seek to achieve commercial return and efficiency maximum for the game.
“This will enable the game to develop fully aligned pathways and high performance structures to deliver sustained success for Australian Super Rugby clubs and our national teams.
“We need to establish a business model that brings much greater commercial success to all stakeholders in the game – something we believe a strongly aligned game can deliver.”