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New Zealand Rugby’s reform proposal rejected by unions

todayMay 30, 2024 5

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A bid to reform New Zealand rugby’s governing body was rejected by heartland unions Thursday, a move that threatens to throw the game into disarray in the rugby-mad nation.

Months of bubbling discord reached a head at a special general meeting in the capital Wellington, where the country’s 26 provincial unions turned their back on a suite of far-reaching reforms aimed at loosening their grip on New Zealand Rugby’s leadership structure.

The professional players’ association upped the stakes before the meeting by threatening to form their own rebel body if the provincial unions got their way.

“It was a great opportunity for the game to make the changes required,” Rob Nichol, chief executive of the association, told AFP.

“It’s incredibly unfortunate we haven’t taken that opportunity,” he added, without commenting on the breakaway threat.

After rejecting a proposal backed by players and top administrators, the provincial unions instead approved their own series of watered-down changes.

Crucially, the unions maintained their current powers to decide three seats on the country’s nine-strong governing board.

The reform vote was called after an independent review last year lambasted how rugby is run in New Zealand.

Richie McCaw, who captained the All Blacks to back-to-back Rugby World Cup triumphs, made a rare public intervention in an attempt to dampen the discord.

“I would urge people that make the decision to not just think about their own patches, but to step above that and think what is right for New Zealand rugby in the long term,” McCaw told the New Zealand Herald.





Written by: Staff Writer

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