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SBD Global/August 29, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Aussie Rugby Players Call For Union's Review After Crushing Defeat To The All Blacks

The Rugby Union Players Association "has called for a Cricket Australia-style independent review" of the Australian Rugby Union's high-performance program in the wake of its Wallabies' back-to-back defeats to New Zealand's All Blacks, according to Wayne Smith of THE AUSTRALIAN. RUPA CEO Greg Harris Tuesday proposed that the ARU follow CA's initiative of last year when it commissioned an investigation, headed by businessman Don Argus, into the performance of the Australian cricket team. That review "led to a comprehensive overhaul of the game and the way it is administered." The ARU's response to RUPA's call for an inquiry "will be watched closely by the rugby community," and ARU Chair Michael Hawker, who has impressed many critics with his open-door policy, "could send a powerful signal reform" on its way if he gives it the green light (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/29). In Sydney, Smith added that ARU CEO John O'Neill has denied his "second job" as Echo Entertainment chairman is compromising his ability to steer the league "through one of its rockiest passages in many years." There is a "growing opinion at the highest levels of the game" that O'Neill, who is paid approximately A$960,000 ($996,000) a year by the ARU, "should be devoting his full attention to calming the growing unrest in the rugby community following the 22-0 loss of the Wallabies by the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday night (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/29).
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