Another massive blow for Rugby Australia as key sponsor walks away

Rugby Australia’s turbulent period has hit another hurdle as Super Rugby sponsor Harvey Norman confirmed they would not be renewing their three-year sponsorship of the tournament.

The announcement follows a challenging time marked by a dismal Rugby World Cup, Eddie Jones’s resignation as coach, and Hamish McLennan’s forced resignation as chairman.

The decision was revealed by Harvey Norman chairperson Gerry Harvey on Thursday, although he maintains that it has nothing to do with the situation of rugby in Australia and is instead about moving on to another sport.

“What we do is, we do whatever sport for a while; we don’t necessarily hang on to it forever,” Harvey told the Sydney Morning Herald.

We go around playing various sports, so we don’t always stick to one sport when it comes to sport promotion.

“Well, we gave that a good shot, let’s move on to the next one,” we mentally decide. At some point, we all come to an end.

Rugby Australia has thanked the group for their support and said that they are presently searching for a substitute sponsor to fill the void.

“Rugby Australia (RA) would like to thank Harvey Norman for his enthusiastic support of rugby over the past three years. ESPN was notified by a RA official that the corporation is in the market and aggressively seeking a successor.

“Can’t lean on me”

As a divisive conduct that is detrimental to the game, McLennan was voted out of the chairmanship earlier this week. He further implies that without his commercial acumen, RA would suffer.

“A board clearly wants change when they go through a process like that,” he said on 2GB.

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

“They cannot expect me to contribute in that way while relying on me to help with broadcast deals, the Australian Rugby World Cup, and all other commercial matters.”

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