Australia on Friday named former TV executive Hamish McLennan as
director and chairperson-elect to lead the sport through a crisis deepened
by the coronavirus pandemic.
"Hamish's appointment marks a new era as we reset Rugby Australia and
our game with a focus on the future," said interim chairperson Paul
McLennan will lead a sport in disarray, with the Wallabies
languishing at seventh in the world rankings and Rugby Australia facing
financial difficulties as well as fierce competition from other codes.
However, Rugby Australia also said it had been promised A$14.2m from World Rugby to help weather the crisis.
"The financial implications of the virus have been significant for
Rugby Australia and this emergency relief funding will provide us with
certainty for the next twelve months and enable us to close off our 2019
accounts," said interim CEO Rob Clarke.
The game has effectively been shut down in Australia during the
coronavirus pandemic, but plans have been drawn up to restart domestic
play around early July.
McLennan said he was "looking forward to working with the board to
rebuild trust across the rugby community, in particular the grassroots
"Rugby has a deep heritage and strong community support in Australia,
and everyone wants to see our Wallabies consistently win again," he
"I think the Rugby World Cup bid for 2027 creates an enormous opportunity for the country."
McLennan arrives after a period of extraordinary upheaval for Rugby
Australia which has included the resignation of chief executive Raelene
Castle a month ago and the sudden departure last week of another
director, Peter Wiggs, who had been widely tipped to become the next