New Wallabies coach 'may quit' amid Rugby Australia mess

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie says Raelene Castle was a big factor in his signing with Rugby Australia. Pic: Getty

Rugby Australia (RA)'s dire predicament could go from bad to worse, with reports emerging that their new coach is considering walking away from the role.

Under-fire RA CEO Raelene Castle was instrumental in signing New Zealander Dave Rennie to a three-year Wallabies coaching deal last year.

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However, the current financial crisis that the game is facing in Australia has left a cloud of doubt hanging over Rennie's future.

Embattled RA chief Castle is in the firing line of the player's association (RUPA) over the handling of pay cuts, while a number of the game's high-profile figures are calling for her axing and removal of the board.

If Castle is removed as CEO it could have massive ramifications for the Wallabies.

The Sydney Morning Herald says sources close to Rennie insist the new Wallabies coach will seriously consider walking away from the role if Castle is replaced as CEO.

Rennie has talked about his respect for Castle in the past and admitted that she played a big part in him signing on to coach Australia.

"I had a lot of time to think about it. I got an approach from Australia reasonably early on, so I did my homework," Rennie said in January.

"Raelene flew to Jersey, we had a sit down for a few hours. She really impressed me. Smart and tough, really keen for change, and driven. The fact I know [director of rugby Scott Johnson], I felt the leadership here was really strong, I felt they'd have my back. That was a big part of it."

A contrasting report from The Australian claims Rennie's bigger concern is the financial crisis facing the code.

Last week, some 75 per cent of RA's non-player workforce were stood down and the governing body announced a $9.4 million loss.

Castle herself announced she was taking a 50 per cent pay cut and members of the RA executive would sacrifice 30 per cent of their wage.

With Rennie rumoured to be on around a $1million-a-season contract, the very real prospect of him taking a significant cut to that is understood to have given him cold feet.

Folau payout at risk amid Rugby Australia crisis

Another twist in Rugby Australia's current crisis surrounds Israel Folau and the massive pay out he was given after a long-standing legal battle with the governing body.

Folau's multi-million payout could reportedly take a major hit if RA is forced into insolvency.

The former fullback was sacked by RA last year over his homophobic social media posts, including one stating hell awaits homosexuals.

Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle and former Wallabies star Israel Folau. Pic: Getty

The two parties agreed to an out-of-court settlement in December after the Folau sued RA for religious discrimination.

While the terms weren't made public, it's understood to be around $3m, which is the remainder of his four year contract.

According to The Australian, the settlement is being paid off in instalments with those payments at risk should RA go under.

Should RA be forced to declare itself insolvent, Folau would become an unsecured creditor and depending on its assets, he'd likely be paid out only a few cents in the dollar.

Folau has been playing rugby league with French-based club Catalans Dragons in the Super League, although competition is currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He is expecting his first child later this year with former netball star wife, Maria.

with AAP