We would say we predicted this, but we didn’t, at least not so far as we can recall or prove, but Raelene Castle has stepped down from her post as CEO for Rugby Australia.
Our view is that she was no better or worse than any other RA CEO was, but she took the helm during a difficult juncture that has gotten nothing bur worse since.
Super Rugby seemed to be in a downward spiral.
Talk about coming together in times of crisis. Eleven former Wallabies captains co-signed a letter calling for the entire board to be removed.
Castle’s timing in taking the job is the first place was anything but ideal.
The 15-player game was losing money faster than a punter backing the Wallabies to beat the All Blacks three consecutive times.
The nonsense with Israel Folau cost the league plenty, although the exact figure of the settlement is double top-secret.
In retrospect, that situation could have been handled better and far more economically.
The halt to play caused by the Covid-19 pandemic was unforeseen, but left Castle in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In a statement sent to RA Chairman Paul McLean, Castle said, “I love rugby on every level and I will always love the code and the people I have had the honour of working with since I took this role.”
Castle took the job with RA at the end of 2018 and her first order of business was to reverse the sinking fortunes of the game following the shuttering of the Western Force.
She had a high profile dispute with former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika. The Folau issue has been parsed ad infinitum and Castle’s attempt to squeeze more revenue from a new broadcast deal was wondrous to behold.
By far, Castle’s most unpopular move was a long and arduous negotiation with the players to cut salaries by an average of 60 percent.