Queensland Rugby Union Opts Out Of Controversial Merger Plan
The Queensland Rugby Union "has walked away from a plan to radically restructure provincial rugby in Australia," according to Georgina Robinson of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Three weeks after plans were revealed for a partial merger of Super Rugby sides Reds', Waratahs' and Rebels' operations under the auspices of a centralized "Rugby Australia" body, QRU CEO Jim Carmichael "confirmed that Queensland had withdrawn support for the concept." He said, "Nothing has changed in my mind on the need to work towards a long-term strategy that benefits the game and its assets. But from my and Queensland's perspectives, what we were looking at we didn't believe was going to be achieved." The ARU "was the driving force behind the aborted plan, which was based on the template used by Carmichael and the QRU to rebuild its business from the dark days of a few years ago." It was proposed that the marketing and sponsorship departments of each province "would be merged and based in Brisbane, where a centre of excellence for the code's national teams would also have a permanent base." Carmichael said that there "were several reasons for Queensland's decision, including a lack of support from the Rebels and Waratahs, and a fear the plan could actually 'dilute' the hard-won success of the QRU" (SMH, 3/6).