EXCLUSIVE: Stirling Mortlock says Dan Herbert is right person at right time
Wallabies legend Stirling Mortlock has thrown his weight behind former team-mate Dan Herbert as Rugby Australia Chair, while also praising the work of out-going boss Hamish McLennan.
McLennan was ousted Sunday night at a Rugby Australia board meeting, after pressure from six State & Territory organisations for him to go. Herbert defeated McLennan in the vote for chair, with the latter then quitting the board all together. Herbert played for the Wallabies on 67 occasions, winning the 1999 World Cup.
The 49 year-old spent nearly a decade in the front office at the Queensland Reds, has been on the Rugby Australia board since 2020, and is CEO of the strata management company SSKB.
“Herbie is a rugby thinker and rugby intellect. He has a very good understanding of the game and a very good understanding of performance methodologies and systemisation of those pathways,” Mortlock told the Ministry of Sport Podcast.
“At the current juncture that we’re in, we’re talking about having a real alignment of the whole ecosystem. I don’t think we could have a better person at Chair, having a really good understanding of what’s required to get alignment, and get the high performance machine turning over again.
“So, in that regard, it could be the right time, right place, right person.”
Mortlock also said McLennan deserves credit for bringing the game back from the financial brink.
“We were financially in trouble, there was a lot of uncertainty. And we’ve got to a position where we have secured the Rugby World Cup men’s in ’27, and women’s in 29’.
“We secured short to long-term funding solutions now, which should see Rugby Australia through to the British and Irish Lions Tour in ’25, which should see a significant financial turnaround for Rugby Australia.
“And there have been a number of other initiatives that have put rugby back into a decent position commercially.
“Right now, everyone’s looking at the results and saying we need to see some action on the basis of that. So yeah, it’s mixed emotions (about McLennan’s departure), I would say.”
You can hear more of Stirling Mortlock’s insight into Rugby Australia, the Eddie Jones tenure and the future hopes of our Wallabies side on this week’s Ministry of Sport Podcast.
Article by Lachlan Wills