The International Rugby Board Interim Meeting of Council and Executive Committee met on Wednesday, November 20 to bring to a close a busy schedule of meetings around the inaugural IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition in Dublin.
The week began with the 11th IRB General Assembly, which brought together representatives of the IRB’s 118 national Member Unions and Regional Associations for two days of updates, discussion and planning, while team doctors and independent medical experts from 29 nations attended a three-day programme of workshops at the fifth IRB Medical Commission Conference.
Nearly 700 delegates attended #IRBConfEx where a stellar speaker line-up included Lord Sebastian Coe, Ireland’s Minister for Tourism, Transport and Sport Leo Varadkar, England Rugby 2015 Chief Executive Debbie Jevans, Keith Wood, George Gregan, Agustin Pichot, IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset and Vice Chairman Oregan Hoskins.
Lapasset said: “The inaugural IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition was a resounding success, combining with the IRB General Assembly in bringing together the global Rugby family for excellent discussion, debate and workshops.”
“The event confirmed that Rugby is in excellent health, that there is great excitement around Rugby World Cup, the Olympic opportunity, Women’s Rugby and the growth of the Game in new territories. It also confirmed that player welfare continues to be the IRB’s number one priority as we reach out to new participants and enhance the medical structures around the elite and community Game.”
At the International Rugby Board Interim Meeting of Council, approval was given for the establishment of an international matches and tours working group with a remit of considering the strategic issues relating to the international calendar to examine the feasibility of creating an international season calendar that enhances player welfare and optimises the Rugby brand. The compact working group will comprise representatives from SANZAR and Six Nations Unions, the International Rugby Players' Association (IRPA) and the IRB.
Andrew Cole (SANZAR) was officially appointed to the IRB Referee Selection Committee in place of the outgoing Tappe Henning, who has joined the SRU as Referee Commissioner. Council expressed their gratitude to Henning for his strong contribution to driving forward refereeing standards and wished him well in his new role.
Council were updated on Rugby World Cup 2015 planning and preparations, which continue to progress on track with the foundations laid for an exceptional event on and off the field. The qualifiers to determine the final seven spots will take place in 2014 while the commercial programme is set to be completed in record time. Preparations for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 and Rugby World Cup 2019 are also shaping up well.
Council also heard how 150,000 new boys and girls have been welcomed to the Game across 50 nations in 2013 thanks to the success of the IRB’s Get Into Rugby mass participation programme which is designed for participants to try, play and stay in Rugby. Roll out will be increased in 2014 as the key programme looks to achieve its target of attracting one million new players to the Game.
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