World Cup winning Wallaby Rod Kafer has called for a major overhaul of Rugby Australia’s management, declaring that the game “was sick a long time before the coronavirus came along.”
Kafer, now a highly respected commentator and analyst for Fox Sports, previously worked for RA in elite coaching development.
The former Test star pulled no punches on Fox Sports News on Wednesday as he surveyed the wreckage from RA’s decision to stand down 75 per cent of its staff for the next three months and forecast a worst case scenario of a $120 million loss if rugby is wiped out in 2020.
In contrast, New Zealand Rugby have handed staff a 20 per cent pay cut.
“When the CEO comes out and says we’re looking down a $120 million hole — how did we find ourselves in that position?
“How does a board allow the game to get into that position?
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Kafer slams Castle, Rugby Australia
Rugby: Fox Rugby commentator Rod Kafer is fired up over the state of Australian rugby, believing it was in trouble long before the Coronavirus hit.
“We know rugby was sick a long time before the coronavirus came along,” Kafer said.
“Rugby has been sick for years.
“People have been calling for change and it hasn’t occurred.
“And yet the same people who have taken it off the cliff are still there, still employed.”
At its AGM on Monday, RA reported a provisional loss of $9.4 million for 2019 but were unable to present a full financial picture or an annual report, because of complications surrounding the COVID-19 crisis.
RA is yet to work out a deal with Australia’s players association, RUPA, whose boss Justin Harrison has become increasingly with what he perceives to be a lack of transparency.
“There’s no knowledge about what actually is going on,” Kafer said.
“Everybody has been kept in the dark at the moment.
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Castle takes big pay cut
Rugby Union: Raelene Castle will take a 50 per cent pay cut for the next three months and will meet with Rugby Union Players’ Association head Harrison on Tuesday.
“Reducing 75 per cent of the staff — is it too much or not enough?
“Nobody has got any idea.
“This concept for the rugby community that everything is OK, just trust us…”
Kafer also argued that Raelene Castle’s decision to take a 50 per cent pay cut was insufficient given the carnage going on around her.
“She’s gone down to $400,000 a year — more than 95 per cent of all players in the game with her salary sacrifice,” Kafer said.
“I mean, something’s wrong.”
Kafer, who worked under Castle at RA between 2017-19, also expressed bemusement at the organisation’s positive view of its own performance.
He claimed that RA gave itself a 76 per cent pass mark self assessment at the 2018 AGM and 72 per cent last year.
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“And this is in a year in which the Wallabies slipped from sixth to seventh in the world and were tumbled out in the quarterfinals,” Kafer said.
“And spectators down at all events in every rugby game.
“Viewer numbers down, a loss of $9.6 million, the Israel Folau debacle and then the board and Raelene Castle saying no to a broadcast deal into the future to secure their revenue in November last year, that was equal to the existing deal that was on the table.
“Many, many millions of dollars they said no to and still gave themselves a ranking of 72 per cent in their internal ranking.
“Thinking that the increases in digital traffic and some of the things that are occurring around the numbers in juniors are the things that are measurable and important to the rugby community.
“That’s not important.”
Rugby Australia projecting $120 million loss
Rugby: Rugby Australia have stood 75% of their staff for 3 months and are projecting to lose $120 million in revenue.
RA is currently operation with an interim chairman in Paul McLean while it appointed three new board members at Monday’s AGM in Peter Wiggs, Brett Godfrey and Daniel Herbert.
Cameron Clyne, Brett Robinson and Ann Sherry have all moved on but Kafer felt the clean out needed to go even further.
“Taking the game to the point of insolvency is what this management team and board have done,” Kafer said.
“It is time for drastic change.
“The rugby community, the players, everybody who has sat around and watched this train smash over the last few years and has called for change — now is the time to demand change.”
Originally published asWallaby great torches Castle ‘train smash’
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