What Rugby Australia should do with its first $10m

In the first quarter of 2023, Rugby Australia is expected to follow New Zealand rugby’s lead and sign its own private equity deal.

While RA could still decide to continue borrowing money, with the belief that gaming will get a second wind during the impending “Golden Decade”, a PE deal would bring in between $100-200 million through the front office.

With an additional $100m expected to be generated by hosting the British and Irish Lions in 2025 and the Men’s World Cup in 2027, RA has the opportunity to give the game a second chance.

There will be many mouths to feed, but the first thing RA should do is spend up to $10 million on 100 development workers.

RA must recruit the best rugby minds in the country – ranging from Dick Marks to Rod Kafer, Scott Wisemantel to Morgan Turinui – and embark on the task of teaching the fundamentals of rugby to coaches and development workers across the country .

Rugby needs to grow and RA needs to nurture the base of the game and bring it into state schools.

The Classic Wallabies program, which is run by Turinui, has been around for years and does a phenomenal job of taking the game across the country.

(Photo by Ian Jacobs/MB Media/Getty Images)

RA should follow Auskick’s lead and spread the game beyond private schools and into all schools. Balls and hats go a long way in making the game more visible.

RA chairman Hamish McLennan acknowledges this. It was one of the first things he had said over coffee earlier in the year.

There are also other areas of action. Competitions like the Waratah Shield need to be resurrected. Women’s rugby should be a priority, but simply exposing the game more to children at school will go a long way to boosting rugby’s presence.

While a third tier of rugby competition is needed, RA, with Super Rugby’s five franchises, will be well served by tours.

The reintroduction of the Australia A program was a huge boost for the game as the Wallabies fringe players were exposed to six more matches.

The governing body has a question about which players it will target, but greater exposure to mainstream media, including News Corp, is key.

As rugby fans love to blame News Corp for the game’s failures, it’s time for them to look in the mirror.

News Corp lost interest in the game due to the game’s poor administration, which contributed to wasted millions of dollars and encouraged young talent to choose other sports. They lost interest in the game because the general public did.

They lost interest because the Wallabies, along with their Super Rugby franchises, struggled for consistency and silverware.

It should be noted that News Corp and Fox Sports tried to buy the rugby rights – and were furious when they missed out.

Nevertheless, rugby fans need to stop feeling sorry for themselves and looking for others to blame.

Strong analysis, which enriches the debate, must be encouraged, whatever the platform from which it emanates.

Rugby must embrace the adage that all publicity is good publicity.

I am delighted to join The Roar and hope to bring a strong informational element to the cover. I want to complement the great work that Brett McKay, Harry Jones, Geoff Parkes and Nick Bishop – and many more – have done to make the website what it is today.

I also hope to bring readers closer to gamers across Australia.

There are plenty of reasons to celebrate and be excited about the present and the future of our game.

Australia’s men’s and women’s sevens are the World Series champions, while the Wallabies could still shock many at next year’s World Cup.

Australia will also host the Women’s World Cup in 2029, and the governing body has received a strong boost on what will be needed for the Wallaroos to go far in the competition.

Rugby remains a national sport. The Wallabies brand is strong as the Australian women’s sevens team is the envy of women’s sport across the country and indeed the world.

While two decades of inconsistency and a failure to win the Bledisloe Cup have seen fans waver and question the direction of play, international rugby is stronger than ever.

Australians will be reminded of this, especially when Lions fans, deprived last year due to COVID-19, travel Down Under.

Rugby has faced a bumpy ride over the past two decades in Australia. There remains hope that the game can take a prosperous new direction.

I can’t wait to add to the rugby debate.

Sports Grp2

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