Rugby Australia chief blames ‘dark forces’ as league’s first female CEO quits

Rugby Australia's resigned chief executive Raelene Castle. (AP File Photo)
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Updated 09 May 2020

Rugby Australia chief blames ‘dark forces’ as league’s first female CEO quits

  • Raelene Castle was attacked in a ‘vicious and vitriolic way,’ particularly on social media
  • Her departure ends a turbulent reign marked by a series of crises and escalating financial problems

SYDNEY: Rugby Australia’s chairman complained Friday that the “dark forces” of online criticism had made life miserable for the organization’s first female CEO, who stepped down after a spell of intense pressure.

Paul McLean expressed his “own personal disappointment” at the way Raelene Castle had been treated before she resigned Thursday, having lost the confidence of the board.

McLean — a former fly-half who won dozens of caps for the Wallabies — paid tribute to the trailblazing Kiwi, saying a lesser person would have thrown in the towel long ago.

Castle had, he said, been attacked in a “vicious and vitriolic way,” particularly on social media, by “silent forces, dark forces.” “She shared some of that with me, which was, you know, I found quite abhorrent.”

Castle was the first woman to lead any of Australia’s major sports.

Her departure ends a turbulent reign marked by a series of crises and escalating financial problems.

The coronavirus shutdown piled further pressure on the cash-strapped governing body.

McLean said he would adopt the role of executive chairman “for a very short period” while the hunt begins for Castle’s replacement.

The ex-Wallaby captain also dismissed a letter from several of his fellow former skippers, calling for change at the top of the organization.

“Let’s be clear here, it’s a very small collective of people who’ve been involved in the game of late,” McLean said. “The significance of that group is probably people that aren’t on the list.”

Two-time World Cup-winner John Eales was among a separate group of ex-captains who criticized the letter, while Michael Lynagh asked to be removed as a signatory.

McLean said that by December this year, two-thirds of Rugby Australia’s top positions will have changed in a year.

Rugby Australia laid off most of its staff and slashed players’ pay by 60 percent as it grapples with the coronavirus crisis, which looks set to torpedo much of this year’s Wallabies schedule.

 

 

 


‘Loved and appreciated’ Bale starts as Spurs win, Celtic undone by Milan

Updated 23 October 2020

‘Loved and appreciated’ Bale starts as Spurs win, Celtic undone by Milan

PARIS: Gareth Bale said it felt good to be “loved and appreciated” after helping Tottenham to a 3-0 win over LASK of Austria in the Europa League on Thursday.
The Welsh international started his first match since his return from Real Madrid and played for an hour before Jose Mourinho gave him a break.
Bale had come on as a substitute last Sunday with Tottenham 3-0 up against West Ham before his team collapsed to give up a 3-3 draw.
“It is amazing to be back,” Bale told BT Sport on Thursday.
“It is a big reason why I play well and why I came back. You want to be loved and appreciated. I will give everything for this shirt.”
However, he admitted it will take time to find his feet.
“I am a bit stiff. It is like a mini pre-season for me and I am trying to get minutes into the legs,” he said.
Despite Bale starting, it was on-loan Carlos Vinicius who made an impressive debut in the Group J opener.
Vinicius started in place of the resting Harry Kane and he made goals in either half for Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min, while he would have also netted himself had Andres Andrade not scored an own goal.
Bale made that goal where Andrade put through his own net.
Leicester made the perfect start in Group G with a comfortable 3-0 win over Zorya Luhansk of Ukraine.
James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho were on the scoresheet.
In Glasgow, Celtic struggled against Serie A leaders AC Milan who were 2-0 up at half-time thanks to goals from Rade Krunic and Brahim Diaz.
Mohamed Elyounoussi reduced the arrears after the break, but Jens Petter Hauge broke clear to secure Milan’s Group H 3-1 win in stoppage time.
Milan were so comfortable that they could afford to take off Zlatan Ibrahimovic just after the hour.
Earlier Thursday, Arsenal came from behind to down Rapid Vienna 2-1 and Rangers beat Standard Liege 2-0.
After a goalless first half Arsenal went behind when keeper Bernd Leno fluffed a clearance on a night he will want to forget.
Taxiarchis Fountas capitalized on Leno’s clanger, much to the joy of the 3,000 home fans allowed in to watch under coronavirus safety protocol, but the Gunners then turned the game around in four second half minutes.
David Luiz put them level with a deft glancing header off Nicolas Pepe’s free-kick, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang then tapping home to bag the three Group B points.
It was an eventful night for Mikel Arteta’s side.
Alongside eight yellow cards, there was an eye-catching display from Thomas Partey on his first start since his transfer deadline day move from Atletico Madrid.
A frustrated follower of the game from his London sofa was Mesut Ozil, who has been left out of both Arsenal’s Europa League and Premier League squad.
“When I can’t support on the pitch tonight, I will support in front of the TV in London.” tweeted Ozil.
The other Group B game was being played out in Dublin where Dundalk, only Ireland’s third ever representative in the group stage, were beaten 2-1 by Norwegians Molde.
In Belgium, Steven Gerrard’s Rangers took on Standard Liege fresh from their Old Firm derby win over Celtic which moved them four points clear in the Scottish Premiership last weekend.
James Tavernier scored from the spot after Noe Dussenne handled in the area to put them into a 19th minute lead.
Then three minutes into stoppage time Kemar Roofe produced a wonder goal from the halfway line, the ball flying over the head of bewildered keeper Arnaud Bodart.
Benfica had claimed the first goal of the night and they went on to beat Lech Poznan in Poland 4-2 in the other Group D game.
Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen ran riot 6-2 against French side Nice and Spanish side Granada, in their first ever European campaign, beat PSV Eindhoven 2-1.