Australian Rugby comes together to begin building it's path to future success

Tue, Mar 5, 2024, 11:01 PM
Rugby Australia
by Rugby Australia

Rugby Australia convened stakeholders from all Super Rugby Clubs and Member Unions, and the Rugby Union Players Association in Melbourne to participate in a summit to collectively discuss the opportunities for Australian Rugby and evaluate the best ways to maximise them.

As Australian Rugby enters a ‘golden decade’ with the 2025 Lions Tour, 2027 Men’s Rugby World Cup, 2029 Women’s Rugby World Cup and 2032 Olympics 7s all to be hosted in Australia, it is essential that the game aligns on the path forward.

The primary focus for the summit was on building a longer-term strategic vision that will see its stakeholders working together to develop a game that is not just viable but thriving – ensuring that the major events ahead set Rugby up for the future.

RA CEO Phil Waugh: “This runway presents a once-in-a generation opportunity to set the game up for the future, and it is important that as a collective we have a common understanding of where Australian Rugby is at – this summit represents the first step in rebuilding the game together. 

“During the summit, we focused on ensuring we all had a clear and unfiltered understanding of the state of the game, and on framing our common aspirations for the future of Rugby in Australia.

“As we work through this process, it is especially critical that the game seeks input from a wide variety of its stakeholders around the country – from the community level, through to our Super Rugby clubs, and on to our national team programs, and we had representatives from each of those levels at this summit. 

“These people own the game, and they should have ownership of the strategy – it is not up to us to dictate, but to work with everyone to lead and deliver a thriving game for all.

“We want to accelerate the conversations on how we are tackling the big questions facing the game – from how the game becomes more connected from the community game to the elite level, to what do our competition, high-performance, pathways and organisational structures need to look like to deliver success on and off the field.”

Following a day and a half, four key pillars were identified to build a national strategy towards 2030:

  • Performance – Driving on-field performance and success of teams in gold.
  • Participation – Growing participation and connection across Australia and creating thriving club, school and local communities.
  • Promotion – Growing and effectively engaging with local and global audiences, both attending and watching on screens.
  • Resourcing – Creating a financially sustainable game to maximise the opportunities ahead of us.

Rugby Australia will continue engaging with its stakeholders in coming months, before a second summit in July that will formalise the strategy to lead Australian Rugby into the future.

QLD Reds CEO Dave Hanham: “It was an important milestone to have the Member Unions and Super Rugby Clubs together in one room to build out our collective aspiration and priorities for the game’s future.

“We have identified an agreed process to move the game forward together, but importantly we are now at the doorstep of a transformational opportunity to deliver sustained success on and off the field. The golden runway of major events to leverage at all levels couldn't be any better.”

NSW Waratahs CEO Paul Doorn: “The summit was a positive step forward for Australian rugby, for both the professional and community game. 

“The summit set a clear direction for what we need to achieve for success at every level."

Western Force CEO Niamh O’Connor: “We have had a very productive and future focused summit. 

“We now have a plan and a path to lead rugby in Australia in a positive sustainable trajectory into the future.”