Crucial World Cup year set to make or break Australian rugby | Bret Harris

The fortunes of Australia’s Super Rugby sides and the Wallabies are inextricably linked – more so than ever before this season

This year will be a year of living dangerously in which Australian men’s rugby will either begin to recover lost ground on and off the field or slip further towards minor sports status. And it is performances on the pitch in 2019 which will be the key to a turnaround in fortunes; the Wallabies, and the nation’s four Super Rugby franchises, must improve markedly to win back disillusioned fans.

Australia’s rugby administrators must astutely manage whatever success these five elite professional teams achieve to increase the revenue streams to fund the grassroots, the lifeblood of the code. If the Wallabies, Brumbies, Rebels, Waratahs and Reds fail to deliver again, the game will be in a weak position to renegotiate a lucrative broadcast deal, with potentially dire consequences.

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