Rugby Australia's Kiwi CEO Raelene Castle has come under fire from the Australian media, with one outspoken columnist writing "you'd be forgiven for thinking she is a foreign agent... [for] the All Blacks".
In a column for The Courier Mail, writer Mike Colman criticised the Kiwi rugby boss for her handling of several controversies, including the Australian rugby union's potential loss of a 25-year relationship with broadcaster Fox Sports.
"The current imbroglio over the code's broadcasting rights is just the latest potential fiasco in what has become a seemingly constant trail of financial and public relations disasters for the code and its CEO," Colman wrote.
"Given the way rugby's image, finances and on-field performances have plummeted since Kiwi import Castle took the reins you could be forgiven for thinking that she is a foreign agent sent over the ditch by the All Blacks to derail the game in this country.
"If that is the case Prime Minister Jacinta [sic] Ardern should give her the Order of New Zealand because she's doing a bloody good job.
"From her handling of the Israel Folau debacle at a rumoured cost of over $3 million, to her no-talkies relationship with national coach Michael Cheika as the misfiring Wallabies limped their way out of the World Cup, the headlines have hardly been inspiring."
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Last week, the Daily Telegraph reported discussions about extending the long-standing partnership between Rugby Australia and Fox Sports came to a halt, putting additional pressure on the struggling code.
Should Fox be well and truly out, Rugby Australia would likely look to sign a deal with Ten and Optus, who would show Super Rugby on subscription, the Telegraph reports.
Rugby Australia is expected to take its package to the open market.
"And now this," Colman continues in his column. "In order to be fair, before writing this article I rang around to people who know a lot more about these things than me, and asked if they could offer one positive that could come out of Castle's decision to turn her back on long-time rugby rights holder Fox.
"Not one could."
Colman argued that the breakdown in relationship with Fox Sports is a huge risk.
"Even Raelene Castle must know that if you are trying to auction your house you need at least two people putting their hand up.
"And even if Optus does offer RA more than the $200 million that Fox reportedly put on the table, in the world of sports broadcasting there is more to a deal than just dollars and cents.
"There is the quality and reach of the broadcast, the number of people who watch and the amount of support the sport receives from the rights holder away from the actual coverage.
"The jewel in the crown as far as Castle's plan is concerned is the possibility of some Super Rugby and club matches being telecast on free-to-air.
"For that, she and her advisors have walked away from a sure thing to risk everything on a maybe.
"You never know, she could be due for a win, but given her luck of late you wouldn't bet your house on her."