Former Wallabies scrum-half Will Genia has expressed his sadness about the state of Australian rugby and called for unity among the warring factions.
Genia, who currently plies his trade in Japan after retiring from Test rugby at the end of last year’s World Cup, is back in Australia and has kept a watchful eye on the game which has suffered a big hit due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rugby Australia reported a provisional AUS$9.4 million deficit at their annual general meeting last week while the organisation’s chief executive, Raelene Castle, has received criticism from the players’ association (RUPA) over the handling of pay cuts.
Meanwhile, there have also been reports in the Australian media over the weekend that Castle is battling to keep hold of her job.
Genia said watching the whole saga unravel is hard and called for more sympathy towards Rugby Australia during such extraordinary circumstances.
“I feel incredibly sad when you read things like they’re on their knees and in debt massively,” he told AAP.
“It’s also sad that you start to see a lot infighting and people attacking each other within the game as opposed to everyone working together.
“In a situation like this it’s easy to point the finger at Raelene and whoever and mismanagement of this and that but the only way the game can get through this is if everyone works together and looks for solutions as opposed to just playing up problems.
“Just the image of the game – everyone is so willing to throw each other under the bus as opposed to wanting to work together to find solutions.”
🗣️ "We will look to reach an agreement which is fair and reasonable."
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) April 5, 2020
Genia said he was genuinely excited about the Wallabies prospects under new head coach Dave Rennie in 2020 before the pandemic wreaked havoc.
“As someone who’s retired just recently I was so excited for all the news coming out of Australia,” added the 32-year-old.
“With a new coach in Dave, a new coaching team with Scotty (Wisemantel), Matty Taylor, who I’ve worked with at the Reds, the Izzy Folau issue has been put to bed – I was incredibly excited to sit back and see how things unfolded.
“They were heading in the right direction – they were putting things in place for the Wallabies and the national set-up in terms of looking after the Super Rugby provinces and then this has happened.”