Leaders and performance experts from across Australian Rugby came together in Sydney yesterday to begin work on a new model for High-Performance Rugby in Australia.
The gathering of key leaders, which was several weeks in the planning, covered a range of topics under the High-Performance umbrella, from athletic performance to player welfare, coaching and talent management.
ARU was represented at the meeting by Chairman Cameron Clyne, former Wallabies and ARU Board Directors Brett Robinson and John Eales, ARU General Manager High Performance, Ben Whitaker and ARU General Manager Community Rugby & Participation Growth, Andrew Larratt.
The ARU representatives were joined in the meeting by Chairmen, CEOs and High-Performance managers from the Super Rugby teams.
Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) Chairman and former Wallaby Damien Frawley said: “Given the events of the past few months, we and the ARU agreed that it was important to come together and to be honest with each other about the challenges we are all facing, and to identify some solutions that can be achieved with a common purpose.
“One area we agree we can have a significant impact is in High Performance, where improved alignment can carry the game forward in Australia.
“It was a constructive and collaborative meeting and the group looks forward to reaching a point where the game can implement the emerging action points.”
ARU Vice-Chairman, Brett Robinson said: “It was a good, open and extremely positive discussion between some of the key leaders in Australian Rugby and we have come away from that with a plan and a focus on working through that plan in stages.
“The collective leadership of the game are owning the fact that we are underachieving on the field at all levels of the professional game and have committed to fundamental reform in how to drive successful Wallabies and Super Rugby teams.
“In simple terms, we have committed to developing ‘one plan’ for the game to move forward in the area of performance.”
A working group with key performance experts was established to draft an implementation plan with key actions and deliverables for each Rugby body.
The leaders recognised and agreed the importance of community Rugby and applying a “bottom up” approach, with a particular emphasis on coaching and talent management connection between the professional and community levels of the game
“Recognition was given to work undertaken in developing the National High-Performance system by national and Super Rugby performance leaders over the past year which will enable our project milestones to be met, “ said Robinson.
“We acknowledge that due to the current process underway concerning the future of Super Rugby in Australia that the meeting was not attended by Western Force or RugbyWA representatives. It was decided in final stages of planning for the meeting to extend an invitation to the Melbourne Rebels to attend, and they were represented by their CEO, Baden Stephenson.”
Stage two of the plan will focus on areas of High Performance outside of playing and coaching including scheduling and logistics, match officiating, laws, and game innovation.
The working group will report back in 30 days with a draft implementation plan.