Wallabies captain Stephen Moore and leading Australian Test stars have helped force a special General Meeting of the ARU after RUPA joined forces with the Victorian Rugby Union to get answers on the Super Rugby downsizing "fiasco".
Upset at the "ongoing uncertainty and secrecy" around the ARU's process to cut one Super Rugby team, the Rugby Union Players Association board voted to support the VRU in requesting a special general meeting of the ARU voting members.
Such a meeting can be called at the behest of two voting members and must be held as soon as "practicable". RUPA said it wanted the ARU board to give "a transparent, comprehensive update on the ARU's review process to date along with the financial implications of various rationalisation models."
The anger and frustration of the players association is made all the more plain when looking at the distinguished names on the RUPA board who are current stars of the game: Moore, Bernard Foley, James Slipper, Scott Sio, Tom English, Matt Hodgson, Ed Jenkins and Shannon Parry.
"The ARU's intent to axe an Australian Super Rugby team has lacked transparency and consultation with key stakeholders. Today's unanimous RUPA Board resolution illustrates the commitment of players from all across the country to take action towards a constructive solution to this ongoing fiasco," RUPA CEO Ross Xenos said in a statement.
"The ongoing uncertainty and secrecy of this process continues to do unprecedented damage to the reputation of the game and has placed unacceptable distress on players and their families.
"In every Australian team there are players and staff whose livelihoods and wellbeing have been compromised through this protracted process."
It is unknown whether the special General Meeting could see a spill of the ARU board and under-fire directors such Bill Pulver and Cameron Clyne turfed out.
RUPA, who have consistently backed the retention of five teams, said if it was made clear there was no way to cut a team and make the savings that the ARU have justified the cull on, they should withdraw from the 15-team model.
"If there is no clear way forward for Australian Rugby that provides the necessary cost savings to justify altering our current professional Rugby footprint in the middle of this broadcast cycle, then it's about time we stopped uppercutting ourselves, backed the retention of five Super Rugby teams and got on with fighting our common enemies outside the tent," Xenos said.
Amid reports the ARU are negotiating with Melbourne Rebels owner Andrew Cox about buying his licence back and shutting the franchise down, Xenos said that option didn't line up with the ARU's narrative about the financial problems the game is facing.
"Axing an Australian team and disenfranchising a Rugby community was justified five weeks ago by the ARU based on financial savings," Xenos said.
"Now, anywhere between six to ten million dollars promised to be invested into the game, including at the grassroots level, could be burned so that the ARU can cull a team and save face around the SANZAAR table.
"Why are we are cutting a team at all and limiting Australian Rugby's future if there are such discretionary funds within the game that ARU can afford to buy a license, only to scrunch it up and throw it away?"