Former Wallabies coach Alan Jones says Australia is no longer a powerhouse in rugby union and needs to confront the diminishing interest in the game.
In a column for The Australian, Jones wrote that Rugby Australia should follow the example that New Zealand Rugby set after the 2007 World Cup.
‘It’s time for Australian rugby, for God’s sake, to confront its demons.
‘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 after 39 successive losses to New Zealand franchises in Super Rugby, Rugby Australia has yet to propose a way forward.
‘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.
‘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.’
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