ARU CEO Bill Pulver, speaking after Ewen McKenzie resigned on Saturday night.
The Roar: One of these days, between 10am last Saturday morning and the release of Ewen McKenzie’s eventual book detailing his side of the story, the pennies will start dropping for ARU CEO Bill Pulver that all is not right at the pointy end of Australian rugby.
And not even the now-likely appointment of Waratahs Coach Michael Cheika, with a possible dream team of Stephen Larkham and Michael Foley as Wallabies assistants, can paper over the canyon-sized cracks in the administration of the game in this country.
Pulver’s extraordinary press conference follow-up on Saturday night, where he laid blame upon the media, and then the rugby public for the “character assassination” of McKenzie would’ve been funny if he wasn’t so absolutely serious.
And while my initial reaction was to wonder where this spirited (attempted) defence of McKenzie was ten days ago, it quickly turned to one of disbelief that Pulver was yet again missing the elephant-sized point behind all the media reporting over the last fortnight.
NSW Country beat Perth Spirit 40-34 in Dubbo yesterday afternoon. Image: ARU/John Young
The Roar: Hard to believe, after what transpired in the aftermath of the Wallabies’ narrow loss to New Zealand, but there was in fact a round of the National Rugby Championship played over the weekend.
The final round, in fact, and though it took until fulltime in the final game of the round, the NRC Semi-Finalists have now been confirmed.
On Friday night, NSW Country will host Brisbane City, in what should be an absolute cracker of a game. Central Coast Stadium in Gosford was confirmed as the venue, too, after I suggested it was the front-runner last week.
On Saturday afternoon, Melbourne Rising will host Perth Spirit down in Melbourne. Fox Sports will cover both semis, with the second semi preceding the ITM Cup Final on what should make for a nice afternoon of rugby on the telly.
Ewen McKenzie during Saturday night’s shock press conference, where he announced his immediate resignation as Wallabies coach. Image: ABC Grandstand
ABC Grandstand Digital:An early start for me this morning, with Francis Leach inviting Tim Gavel and myself along for an early morning round-table on the current mess gripping the Wallabies, following the shock departure of Ewen McKenzie on Saturday night.
With the focus now on who can possibly take over the Wallabies coaching job in such a short space of time (the squad departs for Europe on Friday morning), the focus will also start turning toward ARU CEO Bill Pulver, and what has gone down in Australian rugby on his watch.
It’s fair to say this mess is a long way from over…
My tweet last night of McKenzie’s final poignant walk as Wallabies coach went viral, and is still going…
ABC Grandstand Digital: On Grandstand Breakfast this morning, Andrew Mayes and I tried to get our heads around Ewen McKenzie’s shock resignation as Wallabies’ coach last night in Brisbane.
After sitting through a run-of-the-mill press conference, McKenzie then stunned Australian rugby by stating that at 10am yesterday, he had advised CEO Bill Pulver and the Australian Rugby Union board that win, lose, or draw, he would be stepping down post-match. “You can take it up with Bill,” McKenzie said, as he left the room.
It was then followed by Pulver’s extraordinary pointing the finger of blame toward the media and then the rugby public! Never mind that ARU mismanagement has presided over all of this, Bill…
Of course, it’s quickly been forgotten that the Wallabies suffered a heart-breaking last minute loss to the All Blacks, in arguably their best performance of the year. Sadly, the performance has been brushed aside.