Former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and former All Blacks centre Conrad Smith are on the new high performance 15s committee, while former All Blacks doctor Deb Robinson has been named to chair the anti-doping advisory committee.
Robinson, Rassie Erasmus, Smith and Bryan Habana are among a host of leading players and coaches who have been appointed to World Rugby interim committees.
Building on a productive agreement between the international federation and International Rugby Players (IRP), each of the 12 committees will feature player representation nominated by IRP. With the core objective of contributing to the decision-making process, the player representatives will combine extensive rugby experience with relevant expertise, including broadcast, digital media, welfare, medical, commercial and legal business backgrounds.
With World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont committed to building on transformational governance reform implemented in 2015 to further representation, efficiency and effectiveness, every committee features broader nation, female and independent representation with 30 per cent of all committee members women and three committees chaired by female Council members.
The interim committees met for the first time earlier this month for inductions, updates and to start the business of guiding World Rugby’s decision-making process.
Reflecting a game that continues to experience strong participation, fan and commercial growth across 127 national unions, the Rugby Committee, which presides over the on-field development of the sport, is being expanded into three specialist committees – high performance, sevens strategy and community rugby committees – featuring leading players and coaches.
Appointments across the committees include former Ireland captain and broadcaster Brian O’Driscoll and New Zealand’s two-time Rugby World Cup winner, sports journalist and presenter Melodie Robinson, who join the Rugby World Cup Board, while England’s Deborah Griffin, independent and fan-engagement expert Angela Ruggiero and former All Blacks and Black Ferns team doctor Deb Robinson will each chair committees.
Melodie Robinson added: “I’m excited to be the International Rugby Players representative on the Rugby World Cup Limited Board alongside Brian O’Driscoll and I’m extremely optimistic that bringing the players’ interests to the table around decisions for Rugby World Cups will have extremely positive knock-on effects for teams and players.
“While a massive piece of work is the landmark future host awarding process for the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup, personally I’m excited that there is also a focus on the broadcast rights and commercialising the women’s Rugby World Cup. Shaping it so that it attracts even more players, new fans, and big sponsors which then has a knock on effect for all women’s competitions.”
More information from World Rugby HERE.