Hamish McLennan airs wild Rugby Australia conspiracy theory after axed chairman was given the boot following Wallabies’ year from hell

Claiming to be the victim of a power grab, Hamish McLennan believes his axing as Rugby Australia chairman will only create further division in a code already badly fractured.

After a tumultuous year for Australian rugby, McLennan was given his marching orders on Sunday and unleashed a scathing attack on the ‘two-faced’ Queensland powerbrokers.

McLennan was sacked during an unprecedented late-night board meeting because six member unions—including the Queensland Reds and Brumbies—had refused to

pledge to support RA’s centralization strategy; 48 hours prior, they had urged his resignation.

McLennan claimed he wasn’t furious, but he was upset in the way he was fired and that he couldn’t complete the task of mending “a broken system.”

“I’m really disappointed,” McLennan expressed to News Corp.

I realize that things happen on boards, but what’s happened is extremely extraordinary in terms of the double dealing and deceit.


‘This is well and truly a Queensland takeover. Make no mistake about it.’

Asked on 2GB radio on Monday if his removal was due to a power grab by some states, McLennan said: ‘In my opinion, yes.

They desire more influence. We’ll see how it turns out because at the end of the day, this is all about money and control.

A well-planned effort has been made to disparage me, and both I and the other board members have been the targets of it. That is an utterly petty jab,’ he declared.

“I mean, look at some of the backing I received from former Prime Minister John Howard, John Coates, important sponsors, Cadbury (CEO) Darren O’Brien, and we’ve won a World Cup (hosting rights) for the men and women in ’27 and ’29. We got television arrangements done, too.

‘A lot of support out there, and Andrew Forrest and Nicola Forrest. They’re not dumb people, they’re really smart.

‘They know it’s a journey and, in life, any business takes time to fix.’

The 1999 World Cup-winning Wallaby Daniel Herbert took over as chair, and McLennan declined an invitation to continue as a director.

“You guys go for it if you want to change the direction,” he remarked.

As they talk about togetherness, I believe that what has transpired will actually cause more splits within rugby, not less. I know there was a split vote, which is kind of interesting.

“They can’t depend on me to help with broadcast agreements, the Australian Rugby World Cup, and all the other business matters.”

help in that context.

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