Wallaby legend calls on Castle to come clean on future
Wallaby legend Tim Horan has called on embattled Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle to come clean about what broadcast options may still be available for the game after critical talks with players about pay cuts stalled without an agreement being reached.
The two-time World Cup winner remains confident rugby will survive the massive financial hit from the coronavirus lockdown, revealing that the game's global governing body could bail out Rugby Australia with a low interest loan, but he wants RA to provide some assurances there's light at the end of the tunnel.
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"I'm a big supporter of the way Raelene Castle and the team are trying to move forward," Horan told Fox Sports, where he works as an expert commentator.
"But I think - subject to confidentiality - Raelene Castle probably has a duty of care to the rugby community to say 'well, this is the opportunity that we have and these are the other interested parties and we're going to continue talks'."
RA's failure to secure a new broadcast deal has left Castle under immense pressure to keep her job as she also tries to resolve the ongoing pay dispute with disgruntled players.
Key RA board members, including Castle, spent almost four hours talking with RUPA representatives yesterday but were unable to strike a deal, raising fears exasperated Super Rugby franchises will carry through with threats to stand down players as early as next week.
"While an agreement has not yet been reached, Rugby Australia believes that progress was made and that both parties will continue negotiations in good faith for the good of the game," RA said in a statement.
RUPA did not make any public comments after the talks ended but is believed to have reservations about RA's proposal that players give up 65 per cent of their wage for the next six months.
It is understood that players agree that they will have to take a hit like everyone else in society but are reluctant to lock in a six-month pay cut while the COVID-19 situation is changing so rapidly.
The NRL is already planning to resume playing at the end of May and RA has a proposal allowing for a domestic competition to start in June, which would immediately alleviate some of the financial concerns.
The Australian federal government has also flagged the possibility of helping out sporting bodies hurt by the current restrictions while World Rugby - cashed up after last year's hugely successful World Cup in Japan - has indicated it is prepared to loan money to unions in financial trouble.
But while there is hope for the game, it's also no secret RA is in financial trouble, facing a worst-case scenario of a $120 million financial loss from the coronavirus lockdown and only enough cash reserves to cover the next three months.
This is why RUPA has been demanding a closer look at RA's current finances with several high-profile players having already been approached by foreign clubs keen to sign them if Australia's future remains uncertain.
Originally published as Wallaby legend calls on Castle to come clean on future