Rugby: Battlelines drawn between NZ Rugby, provinces over future governance of game

Dame Patsy Reddy has indicated she's willing to resign as NZ Rugby board chair and her days may well be numbered, amid an escalating battle over the organisation's future governance. 

Newshub sources have described the model proposed by NZR as "insulting", prompting desperate attempts to ease tensions within the game, although no-one disagrees that change must occur.

Last year, the game was described as "not fit for purpose", by the independent Pilkington Report, but Newshub understands some stakeholders, particularly players and provincial unions, have an overwhelming feeling that, if NZ Rugby's proposal goes through, the game will go backwards and be in a worse position than it already is.

Dame Patsy Reddy at the NZ Rugby Dinner.
Dame Patsy Reddy at the NZ Rugby Dinner. Photo credit: Photosport

There's frustration with the lack of clarity with what NZR’s put forward, particularly around what the new proposed 'Rugby Council' may look like, who’s involved and who will have a voice, but also the lack of implementation from what was suggested in last year’s panel review.

Dame Reddy says she’ll reconsider her position, if this proposal is rejected. Newshub sources say they’d have no issue with that, given it's her decision. Some have gone even stronger,  believing the whole board should resign with her.

These sources believe the board is holding the game to ransom and its incompetencies are being laid to bare by what’s come out.

Among other groups unhappy with today’s proposal is the panel who put forward last year's recommendations. They are reportedly insulted and hugely disappointed that many of their recommendations haven’t been adopted, to the point that they refuse to publicly support NZR, despite Dame Patsy's requests.

Dame Patsy’s drawing a line in the sand, saying she and the board are adamant what they’ve put forward is right for the game, despite lacking unanimous board support.

Newshub understands there was a 7-2 vote in favour of the change, some that we have spoken to say the unions don’t want it, the players don’t want it and the public certainly shouldn’t want it, if they want rugby to survive.