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McLennan replaced by Herbert as Rugby Australia chairman in boardroom coup

SYDNEY : Hamish McLennan was replaced as chairman of Rugby Australia (RA) by former Wallabies centre Dan Herbert late on Sunday as the fallout from the country's early World Cup exit continued to reverberate.

Six of the eight state unions had signed a letter calling for McLennan to resign on Friday and he was finally voted out in one of a series of emergency board meetings held over the weekend.

McLennan, a successful businessman who had overseen the hiring of Eddie Jones to run the ill-fated World Cup campaign, immediately resigned from the board.

Herbert, who played 67 tests for Australia in the golden era around the turn of the century when the Wallabies won the World Cup for the second time, said he would continue to drive the structural reforms of the struggling game.

"It has never been more important for the Rugby Australia board to come together and execute the reform we absolutely need for an aligned high-performance system and to deliver on the commitments we have made, including to invest in community and women's rugby," the 49-year-old said in a RA news release.

The hiring of Jones and sacking of Dave Rennie in January was driven through by McLennan but backfired spectacularly when the former England coach selected an inexperienced squad for the World Cup.

Jones resigned at the end of October saying the structural changes to the game required to make the Wallabies competitive were unlikely to be realised in the short-term.

Chief executive Phil Waugh launched a plan for structural reforms in August and last week announced that the New South Wales Rugby Union would be the first to hand over their high performance programme to centralised RA control.

Other states, most notably the powerful Queensland and Australian