Regime change is under way at the Rebels, with chief executive Steve Boland set to announce his resignation. Boland, who took over from former chief executive Ross Oakley in 2011, will return to the corporate jungle, where he occupied senior roles at corporate giants Visy and Veolia before making a foray into rugby administration. And while Boland’s departure is not quite the ”death spiral” some of the club’s detractors would like it to be, there is more change in the works for the struggling club. Whispers of an ARU takeover grow stronger, with some senior figures in favour of the idea in some form. Which form that will be is the sticking point but the ARU has developed a couple of different bailout models over the years, saving the Reds in 2010 and stepping in to run the Waratahs for three years in 2000. ARU boss Bill Pulver has also paved the way for such a move, telling News Ltd a week ago that the Rebels and the Force ”are deserving of a unique amount of help”.Manly unhappy
Rebels coach Damien Hill, meanwhile, has drawn the ire of Sydney club Manly by following in the footsteps of Brumbies coach Jake White and quarantining some of his players. Manly players Eddie Aholelei, Pat Leafa, Jordy Reid and Cadeyrn Neville have been told they may be kept in Melbourne to play club rugby and will not be able to return to Sydney to play in the Shute Shield. The Rebels confirmed this move had been flagged but would be imposed on a case by case basis and not take the form of a blanket ban, as was the case in Canberra. Marlins president David Begg raised the issue at the club’s season launch last week and told the Breakdown he was extremely disappointed. ”We don’t understand how playing club football in Melbourne will develop them as players,” Begg said. ”In fact it will, in my view, prejudice their development. Until this year we had worked very well in partnership with the Rebels. The fact they have done this, and the timing of the decision in the week before Shute Shield started, is most unfortunate.” Hill was unapologetic, saying he would take the option that would best suit the individual. ”It’s a balance of performance, development and welfare of the player,” he said. ”In saying that, there is a responsibility to contribute to growing the standard of the local competition in Victoria.”Centre search
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has been hard at work looking for a centre to replace the departing Berrick Barnes and an announcement from Moore Park could come as soon as next week. Barnes is due to join Japanese club Panasonic Wild Knights after the third Bledisloe Test in late October and while Test centre Rob Horne was moved to No. 12 early this season, we hear Cheika wants another quality No. 12 with a strong kicking game. Centres are in short supply at the moment, with most contracted around Australia. The Force, who announced the signing of Reds outside back Luke Morahan this week, are also chasing Brumbies centre Zack Holmes as well as his teammate, halfback Ian Prior.Plan ‘unrealistic’
As the National Women’s Sevens Championship gears up at St Ignatius College, Riverview this weekend, there is talk of centralising both the men’s and women’s national programs this year. Brisbane is on the cards for the men, while Canberra is another option owing to the close working relationship the ARU enjoys with the Australian Institute of Sport. And while centralisation is crucial for talent development in the lead up to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, not everyone thinks it is a good idea for the women’s program. Sevens Rugby World Cup-winning former Australian captain Cheryl McAfee says the women’s program is not ready to be centralised. ”I think it’s really unrealistic, [the sport] is not professional and the girls juggle careers and training,” McAfee said. ”When you’ve got girls who have spent years establishing themselves at work it’s a bit much asking them to drop everything and move states for rugby that does not pay you a lot of money and does not put food on the table and a roof over your head. If it was professional they could look at doing that.” The tournament includes two teams each from NSW and Queensland, one each from the ACT, Northern Territory, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.
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