Sit down, listen, Wallaby great warns ARU
Sydney: Wallabies great Simon Poidevin has instructed Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver to take a letter sent by him and a number of former players seriously or run the risk of a standoff that will “end in tears”. A report in The Australian on Wednesday revealed dozens of former Wallabies had put their signatures on a letter addressed to ARU chairman Cameron Clyne and his board, outlining a number of concerns they had about the organisation’s strategic approach.
Although Pulver has not officially seen the letter, he agreed to meet those who have signed the document but said he felt there was more noise at this stage than genuine ideas of how to improve the state of the code. When told Pulver did not see a whole lot of ideas being put forward in the letter, Poidevin said: “I’d really challenge that. I don’t think Bill’s getting it. There’s going to be a lot of signatures on that letter. Bill and the board have to take note.
“If you don’t respect the experience and the hard yards put in by those Wallabies and the Wallaby coaches and you want to hide an ivory tower, it’s going to end in tears. I wouldn’t be trying to bat it away.” The key argument of the letter is the ARU is turning its back on grassroots rugby, a claim Pulver and the ARU vehemently deny.
Poidevin, one of Australia’s greatest backrowers who featured in 59 Tests between 1980 and 1991, has stressed how seriously he and fellow players are taking the matter. “Any smart management board will listen to their constituents,” Poidevin said.
“A lot of the guys, including myself, spent a lot of time on rugby across all age groups, across clubs. We’re doing things which Australian Rugby Union doesn’t recognise and should recognise.
“I would just say to Bill: ‘It’s not [former Wallaby] Brett Papworth leading the charge on his own. Everyone is going with him here and you’ve got to sit down and listen’.” Rugby Heaven