Rebels have handed RA an all-time hospital pass

Rebels have handed RA an all-time hospital pass

The idea that Rugby Australia wants to get rid of the Melbourne Rebels is half-truth, at best.

Why would any organisation seek to cut off one of its own limbs, especially when they are situated in a state whose largesse towards sport borders on the over-generous?

The current situation is more accurately framed as, “Rugby Australia can’t prop up Franchise X (in this case the Rebels), which ran up a $2src million-plus debt and which has given little evidence of being sustainable despite the best efforts of three previous owners”.

There is an enormous difference between those two statements, and as the saga deteriorates with the predictable levels of bitterness, it’s important to note it.


As things stand, there can be no winners from the current situation, and if wise heads prevail they will see that the only thing being decided at the moment is how bad the eventual losses will be for Australian rugby as a whole.

Will Harrison’s move to Japan, as reported by this masthead’s Iain Payten and Tom Decent, is a case in point. Harrison’s move, in part, reflects the uncertainty in the playing group at the moment and is a prima facie piece of evidence that an uncontrolled implosion such as the Rebels means that any high-performance benefits by a reduction to four teams are far from guaranteed.

There are players at the Rebels who are currently sitting on multiple offers from other Australian teams, and those decisions in turn affect the teams they could be joining.

It is a chaotic state of affairs, and if any other of the Australian teams end up being stronger next year, it will be down to good luck rather than good planning or centralised masterstrokes.

Reaping the high-performance benefits of going down to four teams from five would be difficult e

…. to be continued
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