Rugby boss resigns on the spot
Raelene Castle has resigned as chief executive of Rugby Australia.
After a series of turbulent months where Wallabies greats have repeatedly called for her to be removed from the top office in Australian rugby, Castle pulled the trigger on Thursday afternoon in a call with Rugby Australia interim chairman Paul McLean.
In a statement provided to ABC 7.30 host Leigh Sales, she said the board believed her no longer being CEO would help them.
"I love rugby on every level and I will always love the code and the people I have had the honour of working with since I took this role," Castle said.
"I made it clear to the board that I would stand up and take the flack and do everything possible to serve everyone's best interests. In the last couple of hours, it has been made clear to me that the board believes my no longer being CEO would help give them the clear air they believe they need.
"The game is bigger than any one individual - so this evening I told the Chair that I would resign from the role.
"I will do whatever is needed to ensure an orderly handover. I wish the code and everyone who loves rugby nothing but the best and I would like to thank the people I work with and the broader rugby community for their enormous support."
The Sydney Morning Herald reports Castle saw the writing on the wall when she was excluded from a board of directors conference call on Wednesday night.
The report claims Castle was not even aware until Thursday that sections of the board had lost faith in her administration.
The Australian reports Castle's resignation was triggered by the earlier reports that sections of the board no longer supported her.
She appeared on the ABC show on Thursday night, having previously agreed to a pre-recorded interview.
She dropped her bombshell resignation just minutes before the program aired her earlier interview in which she appeared to suggest she would be fighting for her job.
Hours later she had thrown in the towel.
"Do I think the sports lost its way? No, I don't," she said in the pre-recorded interview aired by the ABC on Thursday.
It ends a tumultuous era of Australian rugby with Castle overseeing the Wallabies' shambolic quarter-final exit at last year's Rugby World Cup where her relationship with former coach Michael Cheika reportedly fell apart.
The former Canterbury Bulldogs chief executive has also been criticised for her handling of the Israel Folau legal battle and the dire situation the game finds itself in as it tries to find an interested TV partner for a broadcast deal beginning next year.
Castle, who took over the job in 2017, also suffered the sting of having to announce last month that the game had recorded a loss of $9.4 million for 2019, according to a preliminary independent financial audit.
It was met by dismissed reports three weeks ago that Wallabies great Phil Kearns was being prepared to replace Castle.
While those reports were hounded down, the outcry towards Castle and her administration continued to bubble.
Castle on Wednesday swatted away a public push from 11 disgruntled former Wallabies captains - who called for her head.
World Cup-winning captain Nick Farr-Jones was reported be the driving force behind an extraordinary vote-of-no-confidence letter delivered to Castle and the board on Tuesday.
George Gregan, Stirling Mortlock, George Smith, Michael Lynagh, Simon Poidevin, Stephen Moore, Jason Little, Rod McCall, Nathan Sharpe and Kearns - a leading candidate to succeed Castle - were the former skippers along with Farr- Jones to have signed the letter.
Just 24 hours before her resignation, Castle invited the 11 greats to sit down with her and share their grievances about how the code is being mismanaged.
Despite her dismissal of the coup against her administration, the letter appears to have been the straw that broke the camel's back.
- with AAP
Originally published as Rugby boss resigns on the spot