Aussies res­o­lute in cut­ting a team

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

SYD­NEY: The Aus­tralian Rugby Union (ARU) board has wel­comed sup­port of its mem­bers as it pro­ceeds with plans to re­duce one Su­per Rugby team from Aus­tralia ahead of next sea­son.

At an ex­tra­or­di­nary gen­eral meeting held at ARU head­quar­ters yes­ter­day, mem­bers voted on the vi­a­bil­ity of Aus­tralia’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the tour­na­ment with five teams. The vot­ing re­it­er­ated be­lief that at least one team should be cut from that con­fer­ence.

ARU Chair­man, Cameron Clyne said: “It was a con­struc­tive meeting and gave us the op­por­tu­nity to share some ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion on what some of the chal­lenges are, and to an­swer some ques­tions from the mem­bers.

“As we’ve said right from the out­set, it was a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion but we are here be­cause our on-field per­for­mance and fi­nan­cial per­for­mance are not where they need to be. We want to see suc­cess, and although this has been a dif­fi­cult process, we be­lieve that this gives us an op­por­tu­nity to im­prove that and the ma­jor­ity of mem­bers agree.

“We ac­knowl­edge that this process has had an im­pact on the health of our game, and most im­por­tantly on our peo­ple, in­clud­ing play­ers at the Su­per Rugby clubs.

“We are try­ing to bring this to a con­clu­sion as soon as pos­si­ble to give ev­ery­one in the game the cer­tainty they de­serve, though there are some fac­tors out of our con­trol.”

The meeting also re­viewed trends in Aus­tralian Rugby and across global pro­fes­sional sports to high­light the chal­lenges be­ing faced by the in­dus­try.

“While Aus­tralian rugby op­er­ates in the most con­gested win­ter sports market in the world, the chal­lenges we are fac­ing are not unique to our game,” said Clyne.

“The key to rugby’s longterm health is the num­ber of young boys and girls play­ing the game and we need to strengthen our in­vest­ment at the grass­roots level.

“On-field suc­cess for our pro­fes­sional teams is also cru­cial as there is a direct cor­re­la­tion be­tween team per­for­mance and fan at­ten­dance and view­er­ship.” – ANA

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