Raelene Castle Steps Into Rugby Australia Top Job from 2018

Raelene Castle Steps Into Rugby Australia Top Job from 2018
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 12: Newly appointed Rugby Australia Chief Executive Officer Raelene Castle poses during a press conference at the Rugby Australia Building on December 12, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

News out of Rugby Australia is that New Zealander Raelene Castle will step into the chief executive role from 2018. The public announcement from the Sydney headquarters at Moore Park today she’s Castle named as the first woman to assume the top job of the Australian Rugby Union (Rugby Australia).

Succeeding Bill Pulver, the new position will see Castle take on the challenging task of resurrecting Rugby Australia. Sitting in a conference that was obliterated in Super Rugby 2017, with the Wallabies having a fair season–while still not wrestling the Bledisloe Cup from the All Blacks grasp.

RA chairman Cameron Clyne declaring her the stand-out applicant among more than 200 candidates. “Raelene is an extremely impressive executive who covered every base as far as what the board was looking for in a chief executive officer.

“To lead our game into an important new chapter”

The appointment was reported widely, but Castle has broken new ground yet again. She was the first female CEO of an NRL club, and was the CEO for Netball New Zealand. A good administrator and a well admired executive, the Rugby Australia position will be a step up in both responsibility and scope.

Rugby Australia Take a Bold Step Towards Equity

After a horrendous 12 months, where the Western Force Super Rugby side were culled, in an acrimonious process, the body requires both a fresh start and bold leadership.

Castle has made significant steps up the corporate ladder, yet her ascension now is a step towards equity in representation for women in the corporate world. A hot topic within society, the sporting administration will be applauded for the move and the corporate responsibility. Women play a crucial role in the game, and holding such a leadership role can only bring benefits.

The gold medal winning Women’s Rugby Sevens team have been the most successful team in Australia, and sevens has an extremely solid base. Castle will begin here role in the weeks before Sydney Sevens leg of the HSBC Sevens Series, before embarking on a much needed rebuild of Super Rugby.

Raelene Castle to Assume Top Job in 2018

When confirming in August that Perth’s Western Force was being cut from Super Rugby, Pulver said he would stand down once a replacement was found. Now that Castle will begin her role, Pulver can ‘pass the ball’ to a new set of hands.

Many will not look fondly on his reign. Evidence has shown that in the period up to the announcement by SANZAAR, Rugby Australia offered support to the Melbourne Rebels above the Force.

Pulver was seen as a ‘private school’ boy, and his relationship with stakeholders became untenable. Castle must now rebuild those ties from the grassroots up to schools, and the representative grades. Support and grow the NRC (National Rugby Championship) and the Australian Super Rugby conference – that includes the Japanese Sunwolves side.

Raelene Castle starts here Rugby Australia CEO role from January 15, 2018.

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