Mortlock labels delay a ‘disgrace’

Date published: April 12 2017

Wallaby great Stirling Mortlock is upset over the delay regarding the decision of which Australian franchise will be cut from Super Rugby.

Mortlock, who played for the Brumbies and Rebels during his Super Rugby career, is also shocked the latter are in the frame for being axed.

The decision was expected to be made on Wednesday or Thursday but it now seems the Australian Rugby Union will delay until next week.

“The length of time this has been drawn out, it is pretty much a disgrace for all the players, coaching staff, supporters, sponsors and everyone involved with all these clubs,” said a disappointed Mortlock when talking to RSN Racing and Sport in an interview on Wednesday.

“It doesn’t sit very well. Extremely disappointing and probably not just what’s happening, but probably the way it’s going down as well.

“For suddenly rugby to not be on the rugby landscape in Melbourne is a big no-no in my mind for rugby full stop.

“A couple of weeks ago if you’d asked me I would have laughed, I would have thought there is no chance Melbourne is going to be the team they’re going to get [rid of]. Whereas right now, it’s probably a toss of the coin, so I hope it doesn’t happen.

“There has been a lot of signs that rugby in Melbourne is on the way up.”

Mortlock also believes that grassroots rugby in Australia is not flourishing, adding: “It’s not good and the real disappointing thing from my perspective is there’s been a real lack of growing the game at grassroots level, I think we have really dropped the ball on this one.”

“We have never really reinvigorated our juniors, the grassroots, the clubs and all the way up through schoolboys and then eventually into more elite ranks.

“We’ve only focused on elite only and that from my perspective has been the reason we’re in the situation we’re in right now.”

“The grassroots have been neglected for too long in Australian rugby and that’s what has contributed to the issues right now. The ARU have stated they need to invigorate the grassroots and that needs to be the way out.”


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