Australian rugby’s latest blow on world stage
Australia's shrinking influence on the global game has suffered another major setback with Brett Gosper announcing he is stepping down as World Rugby's chief executive officer.
A former Australian Under 21s representative who followed in the footsteps of his father Kevan Gosper by forging a career in international sports administration, Gosper is taking on a new role as head of the NFL in Europe and the UK.
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Gosper had been with World Rugby for nine years but rumours of his pending departure were already doing the rounds at last year's World Cup in Japan.
Although no announcement has been made yet, it is expected South Africa's Jurie Roux, a close ally of re-elected World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, will take over as his replacement, increasing speculation the Springboks have already made up their mind to eventually leave the Rugby Championship and join the Six Nations.
BAD BRONCO IN BLUE?
The Waratahs are trying to sign Izaia Perese, the former Brisbane NRL player who defected to league from the Queensland Reds.
Perese's stint at the Broncos came to an end in February after he pleaded guilty to supplying a dangerous drug in September 2019 at Albion Creek.
The court lifted a probation order that allowed Perese to take up a contract with French rugby club Bayonne this year.
However, the Tahs want Perese to bolster their backline for 2021.
Perese, 23, was tipped as one of Australian rugby's best prospects and was involved in Wallabies training camps before his defection to the Broncos in 2018.
WALLABIES IN SEVENTH HEAVEN
Rugby Australia is still scrambling to work out what to do with next year's inbound tests because of the knock-on effects of the COVID lockdown.
The international calendar for 2021 is still being finalised but the Wallabies are expected to host at least seven Tests - three against France and two each against New Zealand and Argentina.
Under the new rugby championship format - where teams play each other twice in one country one year then twice in the other country the next year, the world champion Springboks will not be coming to Australia until 2022.
Sydney and Brisbane will not be considered for the two Bledisloe Cup matches in 2021 as they got their chance this year so the matches against the All Blacks will be in Melbourne and Perth - leaving France as the big ticket clashes for NSW and Queensland.
Scotland and England have been locked in for the end of year tour to Europe but the remaining fixtures are still being decided with some surprises possibly in store.
MAGICIAN IS RECOGNISED
Not before time, but former Wallabies captain Mark Ella has been elevated to Legend status in the New South Wales Hall of Champions.
Ella joins the likes of Donald Bradman, Evonne Goolagong, Murray Rose, and Richie Benaud as official Legends of their sports - 36 years after he retired from international rugby.
Ella played 25 Tests for Australia, captaining the Wallabies 10 times, and finished his career by scoring a try in each Test on the 1984 Grand Slam tour.
Eastern Suburbs have named former Sydney Sixers general manager Dominic Remond as their first chief executive.
It's not so much of a shift from cricket to rugby for Remond, but a return.
"My association with Easts started playing with the Bays (Easts feeder club), then over 100 games with the senior club," Remond said.
"I have met some of my best friends through my involvement with the club and am very pleased to be able to add value through my passion for the district and my sports administration experience."
Club president John Murray said: "Easts has been working very hard on and off the field to be the best rugby club in Australia", Easts President John Murray said: "Easts has been working very hard on and off the field to be the best rugby club in Australia.
"The appointment of Dom as our CEO is the next logical step in lifting our game. We have upgraded the role to CEO to reflect Dom's ability and our expectations - we are the first Shute Shield Club to take this step."
Originally published as Australian rugby's latest blow on world stage