With jobs and livelihoods on the line Australia’s professional rugby players must and show the same willingness to fight for what they believe is the best course of action, as their netball playing peers.
If the Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA) is genuine in its belief that Australia should retain its five Super Rugby franchises, it should not be afraid to ballot its members on industrial action, withdrawing them from the remainder of this year’s Super Rugby tournament and the Rugby Championship.
The Netball Players’ Association has raised the prospect of strike action, if former international, Kathryn Harty-Williams is not reinstated to the Netball Australia board, having failed to secure re-election at the organisation’s AGM on 21 April.
Similar action taken by players from the Paris-based Racing 92 and Stade Francais clubs, following the announcement of a merger of the rival teams, led a reversal of the decision within days.
So if RUPA wants to send a message to the Australian Rugby Union (ARU), and stand firmly behind its claim that Australian rugby is genuinely “stronger as five”, strike action may be the only option left to save the jobs of players, coaches and staff at either the Melbourne Rebels or the Western Force.