Australian players union wants emergency meeting over Super Rugby team cull
Australian Rugby Union Players Association (Rupa) president Dean Mumm says players' livelihoods are being threatened and has demanded the Australian Rugby Union put an end to ongoing anxiety by providing clarity around what they are doing.
With the axe hanging over either the Melbourne Rebels or Western Force, Rupa on Wednesday called for an ARU emergency general meeting as a result of continued uncertainty.
The ARU is expected to offer Rupa and other stakeholders the chance to come together within the next seven days to give an update on their process of cutting a team from Super Rugby next year.
While it is understood Rupa will not turn down such a meeting, Mumm said an EGM was what they were really after following a prolonged and damaging period for Australian rugby.
All of us believe this has been simmering on without much knowledge of what's been going on behind the scenes, so we'd like to see things a little more open, get some accountability into what's been going on," Mumm told reporters on Thursday.
"People are going to lose their livelihood. In terms of anxiety, it doesn't decrease the longer it goes. It's a very hard position for people.
"All anyone hears at the moment is a bit of rumour and innuendo without internally saying what's going to happen and when it [a final decision] is going to happen more importantly.
"We're looking to get greater clarity in terms of what's going on."
The Rupa board, which has a number of Wallabies players, including captain Stephen Moore and five-eighth Bernard Foley, met on Wednesday and were unanimous in their view to call for an EGM, with the backing of the Victorian Rugby Union.
"I think you can influence the timeline in the sense this general meeting has to be within 21 days," Mumm said. "[ARU chairman] Cameron [Clyne] has come out and said he'd like to get a meeting together of certain stakeholders within that time.
"We'd love to see a full general meeting involving all stakeholders in the next 21 days."
Mumm said it would be "interesting" if the ARU made an announcement in the middle of the upcoming test series but didn't think it would be a stain on the June international window.
"I'd like to think those guys who are involved in a Wallaby camp can put anything aside and represent their country with the pride that it deserves," Mumm said. "I don't think it should take the shine off the test series.
"It'd be interesting wouldn't it [if an announcement was made]. It's going to affect people, no doubt."
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika made eye-raising comments this week in relation to the delay, saying: "The issue around certainty in anyone's life is made by the person themselves … at the end of the day, we're all in charge of our own destiny as far as that's concerned, and we make those decisions."
Asked about what he thought about Cheika's comments, Mumm replied: "Off the field in terms of contracting, it's very hard to say that the players do have it all in their own hands at the moment.
"I don't feel personally it's a kick in the guts. The players control their own destiny when they're on the field, maybe that's the interpretation? When you play, you shouldn't be worrying what's going on off the field."
The Waratahs and Wallabies second-rower sympathises with the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels, the latter of which appears to have reached breaking point with assistant coach Morgan Turinui and captain Nic Stirzaker coming out with hard-hitting comments on Tuesday.
Mumm also touched on the fact players could not sign new contracts due to a moratorium implemented by the ARU, which has had far-reaching effects.
"I really feel for the guys in this situation," Mumm said. "The people at the Rebels and the Force ... have no knowledge about what's going on.
"Ideally when you get contracted, you want to be done by the middle of the year. You want to know where your certainty lies for the next period and the longer this goes the harder it becomes for people in that situation.
"Ending the contract moratorium will help players in the Force and the Rebels to know what they can and can't do."
- Sydney Morning Herald