Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver says setting the target of the Wallabies winning every major competition over the next five years is a lofty but not ridiculous one.
The ARU is trying to get away from the old “pale, male, stale” image that has dogged the sport, aiming to boost participation from women and children in addition to growing the increasingly popular sevens format.
Among the major planks underpinning the strategic plan for the 2016-20 period is developing sustainable success for the sport following the Wallabies’ stirring World Cup run to the final last year.
To that end Pulver makes no secret of the ARU’S desire for the Wallabies to win every single one of the game’s biggest prizes.
“We want to win the World Cup, we want to win the Bledisloe Cup, we want to win the Rugby Championship, we want to win medals at the Olympic Games, so our objectives have got be set high,” he said.
“It’s a lofty goal and you could argue a ridiculous goal, but it simply makes the point that we are shooting for the stars.
“You don’t create a high performance environment designed to deliver mediocrity.
“You’ve got to shoot for the stars. Will we win all of them? Maybe not but we are sure as hell going to try.”
The expanded Super Rugby competition starts in two weeks and Pulver is upbeat about the potential contributions of the new Argentinian and Japanese franchises, despite reservations in some quarters about their competitiveness and the more convoluted draw.
“Argentina are going to be phenomenally competitive, Argentina could win the damn competition,” Pulver said.
“It’s a near Test-strength side and Japan will be fantastic. People saw Japan beat South Africa at the World Cup. They are going to play a really exciting brand of rugby and they will be capable of beating any side.
“I think the Super Rugby comp will go down well.”
Pulver is no fan of the late-season break in the competition for the inbound Tests and would ideally prefer to see it completed before going into the international program.
“It’s a point of discussion with World Rugby, we would rather have a continuous Super Rugby season and then move into the international season,” Pulver said.
“So getting that change is a fair bit of work because you’ve got to get a lot of countries to agree to do it, but we’re chipping away.”
He said discussions were continuing with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika about extending his current contract from the end of 2017 through to the next World Cup in 2019.
“I’m all over him on extending the contract, we are crystal clear that we’d like him to commit to Australian rugby right through to 2019,” said Pulver.
“He’s right up there as one of the world’s best coaches.”