Hamish McLennan: The receipts that led to the Rugby chairman's ...

Hamish McLennan

Sunday night’s final board meeting ended the McLennan melodrama. The eight-person vote was confidential, but there’s already talk about who flipped. Did Rugby CEO Phil Waugh stay loyal to the last? In private, Waugh couldn’t hide his dismay at how the game had descended into a circus. What about Matthew Hanning, the corporate finance chief at Barrenjoey, who had been added by McLennan to the RA board?

Rather than stay on the board to assist former Wallaby Daniel Herbert with chairman succession, McLennan has flounced out. Herbert inherits a toxic mix of stakeholders, sponsors and initiatives, chief among them the task of soothing the renegade states and getting them back onside with the crucial plans to centralise the game.

“There’s no change in direction,” Herbert said on Monday. “We have to get out of the mentality of thinking that a coach can fix it, we need to fix the inputs”.

The new chairman’s in-tray is also bulging with chits from the disastrous World Cup campaign in France. McLennan ceded that the campaign ran over budget, but by how much?

Sorting through the receipts from Paris and St Tropez and other parts of France will take time. If Herbert and Waugh want to turn the corner, they should commit to making the comprehensive review into the campaign public, particularly the expenses.

Arriving back at Sydney airport earlier this month, McLennan was met by a reporter. McLennan was still defending the Jones move at that stage, insisting he had “inherited a burning mess”.

“I think there’s a lot of interest in rugby; we’ll get through this. It’s interesting, everyone’s talking about rugby,” he said. “So a lot of the sceptics say the code’s dead, and it’s not.”

No one would deny McLennan got everyone talking about rugby. Shame everyone was talking about him.

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