Raelene Castle has admitted the Israel Folau scandal played a part in the Wallabies’ dismal exit from the Rugby World Cup in the quarter-final stage.
Folau's contract with Rugby Australia was terminated in May this year after a number of social media posts that were deemed to have breached his code of conduct.
And according to Castle, his protracted legal battle with RA acted as a huge distraction for the Wallabies at the World Cup.
‘LEGAL CASE IN CHAOS’: Fresh Israel Folau twist in Aussie rugby crisis
Folau was arguably Australia’s best player before he was sacked, and would have been a key figure in their quest for World Cup glory.
Speaking on Wednesday, Castle said the Folau saga derailed the Wallabies.
"I certainly don't think it's helpful," she told ABC's Radio National.
"I think when you've got a player who chooses to put their views in front of the views of the team and we end up with headlines and people writing things about Rugby Australia as opposed to writing about the rugby, that's never helpful.
“Of course it's not."
However Castle is standing by the decision to sack Folau.
"Rugby Australia were strong in the stance that his public views were unacceptable and then stood up for a culture which is about inclusiveness," she said.
"It's a positive thing from a culture perspective."
Castle and Cheika in public altercation
Meanwhile, it has emerged Castle and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika got in a public spat at a function at the Australian embassy in Tokyo during the World Cup.
Former Wallaby Morgan Turinui intervened to stop an escalating argument between Cheika and Castle in front of guests at the cocktail function, according to a Fairfax report.
Turinui confirmed the incident to AAP but declined to comment further.
The clash was believed to stem from a disagreement over RA's push to have Wallabies players at the function which was held on the Wednesday night before Australia's crunch pool game against Wales.
Cheika was reportedly reluctant to send any players, with Castle going over the top of the coach to organise with director of rugby Scott Johnson that Wallabies would attend.
Fairfax said tensions boiled over towards the end of the function, which was attended by about 60 people, when Castle tried to thank Cheika for attending with four players.
The pair engaged in a verbal stoush before Turinui stepped in.
After resigning on Sunday, Cheika dropped a bombshell saying that he had almost "no relationship with the CEO and not much with the chairman (Cameron Clyne)."