Clarke comes in to try salvage Rugby Australia from disaster
Interim boss outlines what he wants: Finances; Getting the domestic comp off the ground and; Work towards next year
Interim Rugby Australia boss Rob Clarke has arrived at a critical time for the game.
Clarke’s predecessor, Raelene Castle, and departed board director Peter Wiggs bought the game six months with an emergency pay deal with the players, business-wide cost-cutting and a loan pending from World Rugby, which could be worth up to AU$16 million.
But Castle’s sudden resignation two weeks ago plunged the organisation into chaos, leaving the game’s volunteer board to seize control of the many processes she had been leading or overseeing, including the World Rugby loan application and competition planning.
Wiggs, a private equity specialist who had spent the past six years trying to restore value to the ailing Supercars business in which his company Archer Capital had a controlling stake, had taken an immediate interest in the financial picture.
His resignation from the board on Wednesday has left a hole in the organisation’s skillset, another gap Clarke will look to plug after returning to work in rugby after a three-year hiatus.
Clarke told the Herald his top three priorities were finances, getting this year’s domestic competition off the ground and working out what next year’s would look like.
Rugby Australia has a major cash flow problem, which is to say there is no cash flowing.
The coronavirus shutdown of professional and community sport turned off in a matter of days almost all of the game’s three sources of revenue - broadcast deal payments, ticket sales and sponsorship.
Australian Wallabies captain Michael Hooper after their Rugby World Cup exit in Japan last year. Photo: World Rugby.