Super cull: Embattled ARU 'fight back'

Thu, 18 May 2017 09:29
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REACTION: The Australia Rugby Union's beleaguered chiefs insist they have not botched their efforts to reduce the country's Super Rugby presence.

Their reaction comes in the wake of players calling the saga a "fiasco".

The Rugby Union Players Association on Wednesday unanimously backed a Victorian Rugby Union call for an emergency meeting of ARU voting members to examine the governing body's processes as the sport agonises over which team to axe from next year's competition.

The RUPA board, which includes Wallabies captain Stephen Moore and fellow Test stars Bernard Foley, James Slipper and Scott Sio, have blasted the ARU for a lack of transparency and consultation "in this ongoing fiasco".

It follows the ARU announcing in April that either the Western Force or Melbourne Rebels would be cut from the Southern Hemisphere competition along with two South African teams in 2018.

ARU chairman Cameron Clyne, who has agreed to the meeting, denied the culling process had been botched.

"Nothing could be more incorrect," he told The Australian newspaper Thursday

"We haven't botched the process. We have been very clear about how the process is being run but a lot of that has got lost.

"There is no floundering. We are responding to people who are desperate to stay in the competition."

RUPA vehemently opposes any reduction in the number of Australian teams, presenting various models to the ARU for consideration by Super Rugby's governing body SANZAAR which support the retention of all five franchises.

Clyne said the ARU did not have a fallback plan.

"We are just focusing on working towards our stated position of having four [Australian] teams," he said.

RUPA Chief Executive Ross Xenos believes the threatened Rebels could potentially be bought by the ARU for up to AU$10-million (US$7.4-million) and then shut down.

"The most consistent narrative we hear from the ARU is about the financial challenges the game faces and how tough times are," Xenos told the newspaper.

"Axing an Australian team and disenfranchising a rugby community was justified five weeks ago by the ARU on financial savings.

"Now, AU$6- to $10-million promised to be invested into the game, including at grassroots level, could be burned so that the ARU can cull a team and save face around the SANZAAR table."

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 09h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
England U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 5 0 7 28
Waratahs 12 4 0 8 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 12 1 1 10 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 13 0 0 59
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 48
Highlanders 13 10 0 3 45
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 0 5 34
Cheetahs 13 3 0 10 16
Bulls 12 3 0 9 15
Sunwolves 12 1 0 11 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 12 0 1 56
Sharks 13 9 1 3 42
Jaguares 12 5 0 7 24
Kings 12 4 0 8 19