Phil Kearns does not believe that ousting the besieged chairman of Rugby Australia, Hamish McLennan, will solve anything, insisting that the states are holding back the game. After six member unions called for his resignation, the RA board convened to discuss McLennan’s future. The Queensland Rugby Union chairman informed McLennan that he had lost the support of the majority of member unions. However, McLennan refused to step down, citing the states’ preference for parochialism over unity and centralization. This led to six member unions issuing a statement demanding his resignation, expressing concern about his performance as Chair.
McLennan has been under fire for his attempts to implement reform measures, including aligning the high-performance and commercial portfolios of Super Rugby franchises with RA. However, the Super Rugby franchises are hesitant about centralization. McLennan’s decision to appoint Eddie Jones as Wallabies coach has also drawn criticism. Despite this, Kearns argues that McLennan has achieved positive outcomes off the field, noting his efforts to prevent administration, secure a debt deal, and secure major sponsorships.
Kearns, along with other former Wallabies captains, believes that McLennan has the best interests of Australian rugby at heart, and that the member unions are resisting necessary changes. He warns that removing McLennan from his position will not address the underlying issues and will only perpetuate the cycle of turmoil within Australian rugby.