Rugby

ARU chief offers to resign over Super Rugby impasse - report

Australian Rugby Union chief Bill Pulver says he will resign immediately if an emergency general meeting this week calls for him to go, a report said Monday.

Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver is under pressure over  continuing uncertainty about which Australian Super Rugby team will be culled from next year's competition
Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver is under pressure over continuing uncertainty about which Australian Super Rugby team will be culled from next year's competition (AFP)

Australian Rugby Union chief Bill Pulver says he will resign immediately if an emergency general meeting this week calls for him to go, a report said Monday.

Pulver is under pressure as head of the embattled governing body over continuing uncertainty about which Australian Super Rugby team will be culled from next year's competition, along with two from South Africa.

The ARU announced plans to axe either the Melbourne Rebels or Western Force more than 10 weeks ago, but it has become bogged down in legal wrangling.

The country's top players have complained the game was being damaged by "the fiasco" and an EGM has been called for Tuesday to discuss the process.

Pulver said he would step down if the mood of the meeting demanded it.

"If everyone in the room stood up on Tuesday and said, 'Bill, we think it's time for change now', I will step down immediately," he told Fairfax Media. "It's not an issue of anyone having to push me out.

"If the members of Australian rugby felt the game would be better suited with me gone, they don't need to call an EGM. I'm here for the good of the game. If and when it's time for me to leave, I will leave quite happily."

Pressed on whether he continued to have backing from the ARU board, Pulver replied: "Ask them."

Two of the resolutions at Tuesday's meeting relate to the ARU reconsidering its pledge to remove a Super Rugby team.

Pulver said the feedback he has had "from virtually every state is they agree that we need to go from five to four".

"Most people who understand the game appreciate that we need to go from five to four teams," he added.

Australian rugby is in a bad place with poor performances by their teams in Super Rugby exacerbated by the Wallabies' 24-19 loss in Sydney to Scotland last weekend.

Scotland have beaten the Wallabies just three times in 35 years and look set to leapfrog Australia on the world rankings for the first time.