Oval Talk

Player power leading rugby down murky road

Oval Talk

View photo


The Aviva
Premiership could be accused of acting like their football counterparts with a
third of the managers losing their jobs already this season.

Steve Meehan is the latest to leave. He has agreed by mutual consent to go at
the end of the season. And really, since the appointment of Sir Ian McGeechan
as director of rugby it was only going to be a matter of time before Meehan

He joins
Andy Key at Leeds Carnegie, Tony Hanks at London Wasps and Mike Brewer at Sale
Sharks on the list of managers who have been dismissed this year.

This is
almost unheard of in rugby but chairmen and owners are starting to wield the
axe when they do not see immediate results. This could not be truer than at
Sale where Kennedy was given less than a year before being let go in December.

Sale were
10th in the table having only won three of their nine Premiership
games. Sale's owner Brian Kennedy appointed the New Zealander knowing he would
need time to make the changes he wanted at the club.

Brewer is not known for his diplomacy skills and he annoyed a lot of the squad.
And it was ultimately the players who forced Brewer out of the job. It is
rumoured Hanks was relieved of his duties at Wasps after the players voiced
their feelings about him to the owner.

The same is
thought to have happened at Bath. This player power phenomenon is an ugly
warning for rugby which is still only in the teething stages of being a
professional sport.

What's more
Key at Leeds was voted the director of rugby for 2009/10 and was the last name
on people's lips to be sacked. But with that success came raised expectations,
which with a weakened squad were never going to be met and Key was replaced by
Neil Back in February.

Meehan is
also a victim of his own success. Bath's victory in the 2008 European Challenge
Cup was their first trophy in a decade. And the expansive style of rugby Meehan
has introduced to Bath is a far cry from the dull game they played before him.

seem to be getting shorter and the professional players are exerting a power
they should not have. The world of rugby would be wise to learn from the putrid
situation that football finds itself in. Football has been tainted and the
sackings of Sam Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers and Chris Hughton Newcastle
United this season emphasise that.

ludicrous decisions have started to appear in rugby's boardrooms and changing
rooms. Let's hope these decisions in the beautiful game do not spread like a
virus and infect the gentleman's game.

View comments (0)