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NSW Rugby commits to alignment with Rugby Australia

Rugby Australia has taken the first step towards centralisation with NSW the first state to commit to an alignment with the governing body.

Rugby Australia and the NSW Rugby Union have agreed to the first step in the strategic reset of Australian rugby.

NSW becomes the first state member union to formally commit to Rugby Australia's plan to align the sport across the country.

The agreement to centralise means responsibility for the operations of the Waratahs' professional entities will be passed on to RA from January 1.

RA will take responsibility for the Waratahs' high-performance operations, assets, liabilities, and commercial arrangements. All Waratahs employees will continue in their current roles.

The NSW Rugby Union will continue to take full responsibility for the community game, and for delivering programs to grow participation in, and engagement with the sport around the state, working in collaboration with the Waratahs and RA.

This step will result in the Waratahs' professional operations across high-performance (players, coaches, support staff) and commercial operations (sponsorship, marketing, membership, ticketing) being fully integrated and aligned with RA's high-performance and commercial operations.

The Waratahs will be governed by a separate board comprising representatives nominated by NSW Rugby and RA.

"We are taking this bold step because we strongly believe the federated model for professional rugby in Australia is unsustainable and that meaningful reform is long overdue," NSW Rugby chief Paul Doorn said.

"We are committed to the removal of the inherent conflicts and self-interest that have constrained meaningful progress in the past, and we are committed to the alignment of the high-performance and commercial operations between our club and Rugby Australia.

"I appreciate questions will be asked about the level of trust and confidence in RA's ability to fully realise the benefits of integration.

"These are important questions, however our decision reflects a commitment to deal with any such concern 'inside the tent', playing an active role in the most collaborative way possible.

"We are not content to sit on the sidelines any longer on this much needed reform, and I hope all Super Rugby clubs will follow our lead as we push forward on an aligned Australian Rugby ecosystem."

RA boss Phil Waugh believes an aligned system is essential for the future of the game in Australia.

"We have a plan that we are working on to unite the game - it will take the whole game to rebuild a system that delivers success on and off the field," Waugh said.

"We have agreement from the five Australian Super Rugby clubs that we need to be pursuing an aligned high-performance system and pathways.

"There may be different models across different clubs, however the Waratahs have been very clear that they see great benefits in aligning their commercial operations with RA's, as we look to achieve maximum commercial return and efficiency for the game.

"It will allow the game to develop fully aligned pathways and high-performance structures to deliver lasting success for Australian Super Rugby clubs and our national teams.

"We need to establish a business model that delivers far greater commercial success for all stakeholders in the game – something that we believe a strongly aligned game can deliver."


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