Yes, hats off to the Aussies….
Rugby, as evidenced by many a hidden vote in a transparent process, is fond of its decidedly old-school systems and hierarchy.
But if the appointment of Raelene Castle as the Australian Rugby Union’s new CEO was considered ground-braking, the ARU’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was little short of revolutionary.
In a cycle during which the RFU dispensed with irrelevant pleasantries such as continuing to reward handsomely those females who chose to represent the RFU with such pride, the ARU have taken a more liberal economic stance, opting for matching base pay rates for their male and female athletes and installing pregnancy policies for their females as well.
As Ms. Castle identified during the opening stage of her tenure, the “…..female market is really hot” and currently and women’s rugby is hard to ignore. The skill, fitness, intensity and rugby intelligence of the current female elite are light years ahead of where they were a decade ago. The last women’s World Cup was a pleasure to watch.
In a time when so much cash goes to so few players playing so many games. It’s refreshing to see a national union opening a wider embrace to hard-training elite athletes serving the sport.