Rugby Australia has today thanked Raelene Castle for her service to Rugby after more than two years in the role of Chief Executive Officer, following her resignation last night.
Rugby Australia Chairman, Paul McLean said: “On behalf of the Board I have offered my heartfelt thanks to Raelene for her considerable contribution in what has been a challenging period for Rugby in Australia. These challenges have been amplified for Rugby and other sports recently by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Raelene demonstrated great courage in standing up for the values of the game and had a very positive impact on the sport in the strong relationships that she developed both within the Australian Rugby landscape and internationally.
“There is not a harder-working, more dedicated professional in sports administration and we are sincerely grateful for her leadership and the genuine care she has for the game and the desire to see Rugby succeed at all levels. She did everything she could for that to happen.
“Raelene has guided some great advancements for the organisation and the game in Australia, led by the significant progress made to align the high performance programs across the professional game. This key strategic work will prove to be fundamental in the future success of our Super Rugby and international teams.
“Over the past two years we have also seen double-digit growth in female participation each year, as well as key developments in the delivery of technology and services to grassroots Rugby clubs to enable them to administer their competitions and clubs more efficiently and effectively,” he said.
McLean will take on the role of Executive Chairman for a short period to manage the transition period, while a search for a permanent successor is conducted.
Rugby Australia’s focus moves to the welfare of all staff and players through this challenging time and working alongside its Member Unions and partners as it continues to navigate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis and plans for the future.
“The sporting environment in our country has undergone significant change as a result of this issue and there is a need to refocus our strategy to address this changing landscape and ensure all parts of our Rugby community can thrive,” said McLean.
“Work has already commenced on investigating and developing a range of strategies with our Members to secure the game's future, and that process will involve a broad range of stakeholders.
"Our three immediate areas of work are on our financial security, competition structure for this year, and continuing the engagement with our community, partners, media and broadcasters."