The ACT Brumbies have decided to backtrack on their neutral stance and support a yes vote in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice referendum.
Brumbies chairman Matthew Nobbs revealed a week ago that the ACT Rugby Board was unanimous that the club should not take a position on the matter and hoped Rugby Australia would do the same.
RA then backed a yes vote, joining the summit of all four Australian football codes.
“It was unanimously agreed by our board that we don’t think politics should play a role in sport and it’s an individual preference,” Nobbs told the Sydney Morning Herald last week.
“There’s no way in the world we can silence our players, they’ll be free to express themselves however they want, but we don’t believe it’s the Brumbies’ role to support the position.”
Nobbs said wanting to remain neutral as an organization is not the same as supporting a non-campaign.
“We have a very strong bond with the indigenous people. We come out with a native jumper once or twice a year, our training kit is closely aligned with the native themes and [winger] Andy Muirhead is a great role model for Indigenous players and the community,” he said.
The board’s decision was criticized for not having been consulted, particularly with Brumbies players, and on Mondya the club issued a statement reversing their position.
“Following a consultation process with key stakeholders, including our Indigenous Cultural Advisory Group, our member clubs and our playing group, ACT and the Southern NSW Rugby Union today pledged their support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice,” the statement said. in
“Given the breadth of the ACT Brumbies community, and importantly the fact that no consultation process has yet taken place, Council has initially taken a non-political or neutral position on the referendum. Unfortunately, this has been interpreted in a way that does not reflect the values of our organization or our clear commitment to reconciliation and our fundamental support for Indigenous Voice in Parliament.”
Richie Allan from the ACT Brumbies Indigenous Cultural Advisory Group said: “I commend the ACT Brumbies for their support of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
“The Bambis are leaders in Australian rugby in their commitment to reconciliation and enhancing the lives of First Nations people through their Indigenous matchday experience and thriving First Nations Trails program, and we hope as a collective that this has been an opportunity to learn and grow, and that we we can use this week to celebrate Indigenous culture through rugby.”
Nobbs was also quoted in the statement.
“The Board recognizes that this is an important moment for Rugby and Australia to unite behind Voice to Parliament. We are proud of our record and ongoing commitment to reconciliation and recognize that this referendum is an important step for our nation and our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” he said.
“The ACT Brumbies are committed to taking an active role in raising awareness, recognizing and celebrating the unique role that Indigenous Australians have and continue to play in the life of our organization, our city and our region.”
Moana Pacifica coach will step down
Aaron Mauger will step down as head coach of Moana Pacifica at the end of the regular season, having led the combined side for the first two Super-Pacific Rugby seasons.
Mauger confirmed his departure on Monday, saying: “Now it’s time for me to come home to my family and give my best to Amy and my four beautiful children.”
While Mauger emphasized family reasons for his departure, Moana Pacifica’s performance in its first two years fell short of expectations.
The team, which features players of Samoan, Tongan and Fijian heritage, won just two games in its debut season last year and is winless this season with just two of 15 regular-season games remaining.
Mauger seemed to acknowledge in his statement that his task as the inaugural head coach has not been easy, stating: “I gave everything to the case under testing conditions.”
“I absolutely love this team and it has been an absolute privilege to be a part of this special journey for Moana Pasifika and the broader movement for the Pasifika community,” he said.
Moana Pasifika president Michael Jones praised Mauger’s contribution to the fledgling team.
There will inevitably be speculation that Mauger is unattainable.
After years of lobbying, Pacific nations finally got direct representation in Super Rugby with the formation of Moana Pacifica and Fijian Drua.
But the Moana Pasifika team was largely made up of players left over from the New Zealand Super Rugby franchises that had first choice.
The All Blacks of Pacifica heritage remained in their New Zealand franchises and Mauger had to work with a group that had little international experience.
The Reds are ready for the “final”.
A trip to the Highlanders Zoo, between the Queensland Reds and the Pacific Super Rugby Finals berth.
But the Reds have a zookeeper in their midst in striker Sef Faagase, who is showing his time at Dunedin in 2019 ahead of Friday’s crucial game.
The Reds (23 points) are seventh, just four points or one win ahead of the ninth-placed Highlanders, going into the penultimate round.
After this weekend, Brad Thorn’s men travel to Fiji to face 10th-placed Drua (17 points) and may need wins in both games to qualify for the finals of the manager’s final campaign.
However, Faagase looks no further than Dunedin, where the much-travelled ruckman has played at provincial and Super Rugby levels in 2019.
Forsyth Barr Stadium has a roof and a bustling home section called the Zoo, staffed by university students.
“It was a great experience. “I learned a lot about how the Kiwis think and how they want to play their footy,” Faagase said of his tenure in New Zealand.
“It’s quite vocal. I don’t think most guys have experienced that.
“It will be a new experience and fun too. Hopefully we can keep the zoo quiet.”
“Just be prepared to run. It’s a fast deck, elements don’t come into play much.”
The Reds were humbled by a Blues side who rested five All Blacks last week, knocking them down to earth after a historic loss to Chiefs the week before.
“We have to treat it as a final,” Faagase said.
“They really need a win and so do we.”