ARU won't back down on axing Super Rugby team
Sydney - The Australian Rugby Union on Tuesday endorsed the decision to
scrap one of the country's Super teams and stuck with its embattled chief
executive Bill Pulver, who has been under pressure over the move.
ARU members voted in favour of axing one of Australia's five
teams, which has become bogged down in legal wrangling since it was first
announced by SAANZAR, the southern hemisphere rugby body, in April.
"The majority of members have voted in support of going
from five teams to four," ARU chairperson Cameron Clyne told reporters after
an emergency general meeting in Sydney.
The ARU also voted in support of setting up an advisory body
- a Super Rugby Commission - to oversee the process, with Clyne adding that
members were "very comfortable to have that discussion".
Chief executive Pulver, who had reportedly offered to resign
if he was called on to go, was not challenged at the meeting, Clyne said.
"We recognised that these are long-term trends and everybody
in the room - the ARU board right through to all the others - we've all got
accountability for what are long-term trends, not just in rugby, but in
sport," he said.
"It was actually a very constructive and civil
discussion, there were no discussions of leadership changes or anything like
Either Perth's Western Force or the Melbourne Rebels will be
cut from next year's Super Rugby competition, which is returning to 15 teams
after expanding to an unwieldy 18 this season.
Tuesday's meeting was called by the Victorian Rugby Union
and the Rugby Union Players' Association, who both want answers on how the ARU
plans to proceed with its plan to cut a team.
But Clyne could not provide clarity on when the decision
will be made. "We've always said we'd like to bring it to resolution as
quickly as possible but we don't control that timing," he said.
He added: "When you're making a difficult change, I
accept there is criticism that it's taken time.
"Had I come out on April 10 and said we're going to
exit a team and it's going to take four months, there'd be equal criticism
Australia's Super Rugby teams have also had a tough season
on the pitch, with none of them managing to beat New Zealand opposition so far