Rugby isn’t a priority when people are dying, says Wallaby coach Dave Rennie

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MELBOURNE – Dave Rennie remains firmly committed to coaching Australia despite being “gutted” that Raelene Castle, the woman who appointed him, will no longer be his boss.

Castle resigned abruptly as chief executive of Rugby Australia last week after the board decided they no longer had confidence in her leadership amid a financial crisis brought by the coronavirus.

Castle had been instrumental in appointing fellow New Zealander Rennie to take over a Wallabies team that slumped out of the quarter-finals at the Rugby World Cup in Japan last year, their equal-worst finish.

“I’m really gutted at the decision to move Raelene on,” Glasgow Warriors coach Rennie told British media.

“I was really impressed with her. She had a real clear plan of what the next few years would look like.

“But she exited with real dignity and class, and the first thing she said to me was she still wants me to go to Australia.

“I’m disappointed with the decision and clearly I wanted to have a chat with the board and get clarity about what the plan looks like now, but I’m still very committed.”

Rennie is set to coach the Wallabies after his Warriors contract finishes at the end of June, but the Pro14 season remains suspended amid a global sports shutdown due to Covid-19.

Hunt begins for Castle’s replacement at RA

While the hunt begins for a new Rugby Australia chief executive, Raelene Castle is confident her resignation won’t affect the tenure of incoming Wallabies coach Dave Rennie.

With eight rounds to complete the regular season before the play-offs and no clarity on when it might resume, Rennie said it should be called off and the title given to Irish club Leinster, who lead Conference A by 20 points from Ulster.

The Warriors sit third, a further seven points behind.

Edinburgh lead Conference B on 47 points.

“We have seen other competitions just awarding the team that is leading,” he said.

“You can’t argue that Leinster, unbeaten all year, miles in front of the competition – it is hard not just to award them the competition, isn’t it?

“At the moment there are a lot of people dying in this part of the world. Others have lost their jobs.

“The whole world is taking pay cuts. The importance of us getting back playing quickly does not really rank very highly because of the events I have just mentioned.”


By Ian Ransom


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