RA boss promises action on SRP stop-start

The Rugby Australia masterminds trust will meet to discuss the state of the game after repeated pleas from frustrated coaches to encourage a smoother and more compelling product.

RA boss Andy Marinos admitted on Monday that “the form of the game is a major concern”, particularly in Australia’s crowded market with rival footy codes in full swing.

“We have to make sure that the product that’s out of the frame is compelling,” he said.

“It’s not just sitting at the feet of the officials, it’s also in the way we approach the game.

“We’re going to come together as a collective and drill on how to get better flow and better form for our game.”

It comes after Brumbies manager and Wallabies assistant Dan McKellar joined the Queensland Reds against Brad Thorn to vent his frustrations with the stop-start nature of Super Rugby Pacific games.

“The Wallabies manager Dave (Rennie) would probably like a bit more footy to be played, I think everyone would like that too, the players more than anyone,” McKellar said after his team’s loss to the Reds Saturday.

“Everyone has a role to play in making the game more entertaining and spectacular. The players, the coaches, the mindset we adopt and the messages we convey and the officials.

“It’s a complex game and if you want to process it more and more complex… it can sometimes be difficult to watch it.”

Thorn’s cries to just ‘keep it up’ followed a Reds win over Fijian Drua that featured frequent penalties and endless video criticism of minor infractions.

Meanwhile, World Rugby boss Alan Gilpin has said the high contact crackdown, which currently involves a trial for a 20-minute red card, will not waver.

The focus on safety and concussion prevention has seen regular red and yellow cards for high contact shown in games for both Tasman sides.

“The most important issue for the game is security…we try to make the game as safe as possible, but at the same time a great show,” Gilpin said.

“We want people to want to watch and play rugby, and for kids to be inspired by that…it’s a really difficult balance to strike.

“We are in a complex collision sport where these decisions are made in fractions of a second.

“We have a lot of sympathy for the players… (but) over time you will see the players and the coaches adapt to that.”

Wallaroos to turn pro as part of World Cup win

A three-year goal to professionalise the Wallaroos has been reported as Australian companies host the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2029.

Australia was named World Rugby’s preferred host for the event on Monday, two years after the men’s edition was due to be contested in the country.

World Rugby will now meet Rugby Australia (RA) and government officials this week to advance a hosting model for both events, ahead of a final vote in May in Dublin.

RA boss Andy Marinos says the women’s showpiece event, to be played in New Zealand later this year, will be an aspiration for the country’s future rugby talent.

And he said the heightened interest in women’s rugby and women’s sport since the failed bid to host the 2022 Women’s World Cup would allow RA to build a business case for increased funding for the program at 15.

Currently, only two of Australia’s five Super W teams receive match payments, while the Wallaroos national team are paid for time spent in camp and Australia’s sevens have full-time contracts.

Marinos said better pay conditions for female Super W and Wallaroos players, standardized nationally, were essential and an easy sell given the achievements of Australia’s women’s cricket and rugby sevens teams.

“Their victory (at the Cricket World Cup) was just magnificent and you can see the investment that has been made in this sport is paying off,” he said.

“A bit like what we saw with the seven (gold medal at the Rio 2016 Games); we have invested in and continue to ensure that these girls continue to perform.

“These opportunities will allow us to build a more comprehensive business customer base; there is a goal and a destination in front of us throughout the game.

“It’s not like there’s no investment (already in women’s rugby), it’s just how we expand that.”

When asked for a deadline, Marinos said ‘we have to work hard for the 2025 World Cup in England’.

“We will not be bound by a timetable, but it is a priority,” he said.

“(Paying players) must be followed by an investment in the game.”


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