Rugby

Rugby Australia chairman Cameron Clyne to quit after difficult tenure

AFP-JIJI

Rugby Australia chairman Cameron Clyne on Monday announced he will not stand for re-election in 2020, taking a parting swipe at the media after a difficult four years in charge.

A former head of Australian banking giant NAB, Clyne said his term would end on March 30 when the governing body holds its annual general meeting.

During his tenure, Clyne oversaw the controversial axing of Western Force from the Super Rugby competition and mixed results for the Wallabies.

It culminated in Australia’s World Cup quarterfinal flop in Japan and the resignation of coach Michael Cheika.

He also presided over the divisive sacking this year of Super Rugby’s record try-scorer Israel Folau for homophobic comments, with a potentially costly unfair dismissal court case looming.

Clyne, though, pointed to a number of achievements and positive advancements under his watch, particularly the big growth in female participation in the sport.

“Unfortunately, recently, much of the focus of the media has been directed at myself,” he said, referring to domestic press criticism of the performance of Clyne and chief executive Raelene Castle.

He said this had “overshadowed a lot of great work that has been done and continues to be done at the community level through to the national level by our volunteers, administrators, players, coaches, and match officials across the country”.

“It is hoped that with my resignation, the attention can return to where it rightfully should be, which is on the field and that this positive work will be highlighted.”