While insisting he is not angry, McLennan is disappointed about the manner of his sacking and not being able to finish the job of fixing “a broken system”.
Asked on 2GB radio on Monday if his ousting was due to a power grab by some states, McLennan said: “In my opinion, yes.
“They want to have a greater say. This is all about money and control at the end of the day, so we’ll see how it plays out.”
“There’s been a coordinated campaign to sort of smear me and that’s been fed back through me and other board members. That’s a complete cheap shot.
“I mean, we’ve won a World Cup [hosting rights] for the men and women in ’27 and ’29, we got broadcast deals done, we brought sponsors into the game and if you just look at some of the support where I had from former prime minister John Howard, John Coates, key sponsors, Cadbury [boss] Darren O’Brien …
“A lot of support out there and Andrew Forrest and Nicola Forrest. They’re not dumb people, they’re really smart.
“They know it’s a journey and, in life, any business takes time to fix.”
Replaced as chair by 1999 World Cup-winning Wallaby Daniel Herbert, McLennan turned down an offer to stay on as a director.
“When a board goes through a process like that, they obviously want change,” he said.
“I understand it was a bit of a split vote, which is sort of interesting, so I think what’s happened is actually going to create more divisions within rugby, not less as they talk about unity.
“They can’t lean on me to continue to help on broadcast deals and the Rugby World Cups in Australia and all the other commercial matters and still expect me to contribute in that regard.
“If you want to change the direction, you guys go for it.
“What I would say too is that three of the Super clubs that drive all the money into the game being the (Western) Force, the (Melbourne) Rebels and the (NSW) Waratahs were very happy with me to stay.”