'Cluster f***': Rugby Australia boss accused of 'appalling' act amid crisis

Raelene Castle has been heavily criticised for her handling of the code's current crisis. Pic: Getty

Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle continues to come under fire for her handling of the code's crisis that saw job cuts for 75% of the game's workforce.

Former Wallaby Rod Kafer this week launched an extraordinary critique of Castle, calling for a major overhaul of the governing body’s management in the face of a $120 million crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

'MIRACLE': Player with serious spinal injury's shock recovery

CLASS IS PERMANENT: What the world's sporting superstars are doing

RA chief executive Castle announced what was described as “the toughest decision in the game's history” on Tuesday after meeting with Rugby Union Players' Association (RUPA) boss Justin Harrison.

New Zealand Rugby staff haven't taken the same hit as their Australian counterparts, agreeing to a 20 per cent pay cut across the board.

“When the CEO comes out and says we’re looking down a $120 million hole — how did we find ourselves in that position?” former Wallaby Kafer said on Fox Sports News on Wednesday.

“How does a board allow the game to get into that position? We know rugby was sick a long time before the coronavirus came along. Rugby has been sick for years.

“People have been calling for change and it hasn’t occurred. And yet the same people who have taken it off the cliff are still there, still employed.”

Castle has agreed to take a 50 percent pay cut but will still be on a reported annual salary of more than $400,000.

It's now emerged that the RA chief's handling of the situation on Tuesday - where the widespread job cuts where announced - was described by a person present at the meeting as a disaster.

The Australian reports that the individual described Castle's address to staff as the “most appalling corporate cluster f*** I have witnessed in a long time”.

‘Something’s wrong’

About 100 of the estimated 140-strong RA workforce have been stood down until May 1, when they would return if Super Rugby resumes and July's Test program against Ireland and Fiji is given the green light.

Australia's Super Rugby clubs in Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne hope to lean on the government's recently-announced JobKeeper scheme or any other available benefits as they scale back their operational costs and staff levels in a similar manner.

Castle said additional help from World Rugby and individual state governments would also ensure grassroots rugby could continue once it is safe to return to the field.

Rod Kafer in action for the Wallabies in his heyday. Image: Getty

Kafer, who played 12 Tests for Australia before moving into the media and working for RA in elite coaching development, said Castle should be taking a bigger pay cut.

“She’s gone down to $400,000 a year — more than 95 per cent of all players in the game with her salary sacrifice,” Kafer said. “I mean, something’s wrong.”

“Taking the game to the point of insolvency is what this management team and board have done.

“It is time for drastic change. The rugby community, the players, everybody who has sat around and watched this train smash over the last few years and has called for change — now is the time to demand change.”

with AAP