Dave Rennie’s summer move to Australia to become head coach of the Wallabies appears to be in doubt with reports in the southern hemisphere indicating that he would not be inclined to take on the role if Raelene Castle – Rugby Australia’s under-fire chief executive – is sacked.

It looks increasingly like Glasgow Warriors will not play again under Rennie, with the Covid-19 shutdown having decimated the end of this 2019-20 season, and the 56-year-old out of contract this summer.

He is due to take up his post with Australia in July on a three-and-a-half-year deal which will see him lead the Wallabies at the 2023 World Cup. However, when his decision to join Australia was announced back in November, he made it very clear that his admiration for Castle had been a key driver in his decision.

"I had a lot of time to think about it. I got an approach from Australia reasonably early on, so I did my homework," he said in January. "Raelene flew to Jersey, we had a sit down for a few hours. She really impressed me. Smart and tough, really keen for change, and driven. The fact I know [director of rugby Scott Johnson], I felt the leadership here was really strong, I felt they'd have my back. That was a big part of it."

The Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday morning that sources close to Rennie have intimated that he will reconsider his future if Castle is let go. The former New Zealand Netball and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (rugby league) boss has come in for heavy criticism in the last week after the coronavirus crisis exposed the precarious financial position of Rugby Australia, with concerns raised about the continued viability of the professional game in the country under the current model while the amateur club game is in turmoil.

Rugby Australia announced early last week that their 15-strong executive team are taking 30 per cent pay cuts in response to the lockdown, which has come just seven weeks into the southern hemisphere season and looks set to scupper the lucrative summer Tests against Ireland (twice) and Fiji. Castle is taking a 50 per cent cut, while 75 per cent of the organisation’s staff are being stood down until July 1 as a cost-cutting measure.

Castle, who has been in the job for two years, was already on the back foot before this crisis raised the stakes exponentially. Her decision to sign a multi-million-dollar four-year deal with Israel Folau, with no extra controls on his social media activity despite the fact he’d already shown himself to be a high-risk proposition due to some of his religious views backfired when the full-back was subsequently sacked for homophobic social media posts, then sued the governing body on the basis of religious discrimination, before agreeing an out-of-court settlement which is understood to be worth $3m (or roughly £1.5m) to the player.

Castle’s handling of previous head coach Michael Cheika also came in for criticism, not least from the man himself. “It’s no secret I’ve pretty much got no relationship with the CEO,” said Cheika in his valedictory press conference after the 2019 World Cup.

She’s also had run-ins with key stakeholders, including current broadcast partner Foxtel (without having a replacement deal lined up) and Australia's professional players union. Rugby Australia reported a loss of $9.4m for 2019 and has estimated a $120m loss from match day and broadcast revenue if there is no more rugby this season. All of which has culminated in calls for head from several influential rugby voices in Australia.

If Rennie does walk away from the Australia job, he will not stay on as head coach at Glasgow Warriors because former Scotland forwards coach Danny Wilson has already been handed that role. It is far more likely that he will return to his native New Zealand, with his and his wife’s desire to be closer to their family having been cited as a key factor in their decision to leave Scotland.

Former Scotland defence coach Matt Taylor is supposed to be part of Rennie’s new-look coaching team, and it seems unlikely that he will reconsider his position given that he is from Australia and has been in situ in the job since the turn of the year.