Sunwolves out of Super Rugby after time runs out in pandemic

Tanya Simon
June 3, 2020

Rugby Australia is negotiating with the Australian government for permission to host South Africa, New Zealand and Argentina in a shortened Rugby Championship later this year.

The series between Australia's four Super Rugby teams - Reds, Waratahs, Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels - along with the previously axed Western Force, is set to kick off on 3 July.

RA's interim chief govt Rob Clarke stated in a press release the Sunwolves' participation within the Australian competitors would have been "severely compromised" by an absence of preparation time out there for the crew.

Clarke also foreshadowed further cuts to follow Monday's announcement that a third of the beleaguered national body's fulltime staff will lose their jobs over the coming months.

He said they were "prudent" moves to stabilise the code's finances as RA prepared for a domestic competition to return on July 3.

Clarke added: "Today we have announced phase one of the restructure of the rugby landscape, and the next phase will focus on the role of Rugby Australia and the member unions to find further opportunities for savings and efficiencies in the way we deliver our rugby programs and administrative operations across each of our businesses". "It has been an honour and privilege for us to be part of the toughest rugby competition in the world".

Rugby Australia has undergone a restructure during the coronavirus pandemic.

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"This second phase involves a significant piece of work that will be managed carefully over the coming months working closely with the leaders of each of the organisations looking at both the delivery of the professional game, and the community game across each state and territory".

"This is a hard time for a lot of very passionate, hardworking rugby people and we are committed to helping those people find their next opportunity, whether it be within the game or elsewhere".

Senior staff have also been asked to take a five-per-cent pay cut, and 30 contractors and casual staff have had their contracts terminated immediately.

He said Rennie was exempt from taking a pay cut as he had not yet started the role, while the RA high-performance program would be "protected" to enhance the flagship team.

Clarke said RA had been talking to the federal government about conditions that would allow the four-nation Rugby Championship Test tournament to be played here this year, overcoming travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"A key part of our financial underpinning is a successful Wallabies", he said.

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