Rugby Australia Appoint New Chairman


Rugby Australia confirmed on Friday afternoon that Hamish McLennan would join the board as director and chair-elect at its next meeting on June 15, filling the gap left by recently resigned Peter Wiggs.

McLennan is a former Channel Ten chief executive played a key role in negotiating a deal for the Big Bash League on Channel Ten and also spent two years as an executive at News Corp. He is currently chair of the REA group, deputy chair of investment group Magellan and chairman of Here There & Everywhere, the parent company of the Australian Radio Network.

McLennan will take over as chairman from Paul McLean, who had set a July 31 deadline for his departure from the board after taking the top job earlier this year in the wake of Cameron Clyne's resignation.

While he doesn't officially begin until next month, McLennan said he would spend that time "listening" and trying to get a "line of sight" on some of the game's biggest issues from the broadcast deal to the disconnect in much of the rugby community.

"There's no doubt our fans have become frustrated with the performance of the Wallabies and there’s been a lot of leaks around the game at a board level, which disappoints a lot of people," he said.

"We need to get in alignment and with Dave Rennie coming in as the new (Wallabies) coach it's a great opportunity to reset with some higher expectations and get the culture right and then hopefully we'll get back to winning.

"I think we’re a very divided rugby community but getting that alignment is one of my top priorities and I'll work hard to achieve that."

Despite the challenges that the sport is facing on several fronts, he said he wanted to be able to play a big part in helping it turn a corner.

"I love the game and I believe it deserves to do better and I felt there was no point snarking on the sidelines when I was invited to be interviewed to join the board.

"At the end of the day, it’s more fun to be the middle of the scrum than watching from the sidelines."