Cape Town - Former Wallabies coach Alan Jones has blasted the current state of Australian rugby.
In a column for The Australian newspaper, the 70-year-old got stuck into what he called a "crisis", questioning the role the Australian Rugby Union is playing in plotting the way forward.
"It’s time for Australian rugby, for God’s sake, to confront its demons," Jones, who was appointed coach of the Wallabies in 1984, wrote.
"What the board of Rugby Australia don’t understand is that its real assets are not the 140-odd people who are employed at its head office doing God knows what; it’s not the fancy buildings that they build at places like Moore Park; and it’s certainly not the blazer brigade, who are presiding over this crisis, even though many of them give the impression that they think they are the game.
"The real assets are the players and the coaches and their support staff. And that is where the success or failure of the game rests.
"Only months after that defeat (to France) in the (2007 World Cup) quarter-finals, New Zealand Rugby gathered together everyone who mattered. There was only one question that was asked — what must be the No 1 priority for New Zealand rugby?"
Jones added that Australian Rugby did not know how to fix the situation.
"Rugby Australia obviously don’t understand the gravity of the problem, and even worse, they can’t provide a single answer. The crowds are so bad these days, they’re not even published," Jones said.
"Already, if you go to some schools in Brisbane and Sydney, private schools, they are fielding more soccer and AFL teams than rugby teams. Something has to be done before this becomes the beginning of the end."