The Leading Rugby programme is part of the IRB development strategy to support Member Unions with training to develop the Game globally. The programme is run in partnership with Regional Associations around the world through workshops and support services, bringing Unions together to share information and ideas on best practice models.
In Oceania, the Leading Rugby workshop was held from 6-7 May in Moorea, Tahiti, with delegates coming from as far apart as Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga as well as from the host country.
The course was conducted by the IRB's Rugby Services Manager for Oceania, Bruce Cook.
“The aim of the workshop was to allow Unions to consider where they are now and understand the key issues and challenges they face as they head to where they want to be in four years' time,” Cook said.
In addition Unions were required to review the key issues and models in developing rugby and improving performance as well as identifying the optimum strategies required to implement and achieve their goals – whether it be leadership, business, marketing or operational.
“It was important we got key rugby stakeholders at this workshop, such as CEO’s, chairpersons, board members, senior managers so they can go back and start driving the ideas from this workshop and hence grow the Game in a profitable way within the Oceania region,” Cook added.
IRB General Manager for Development, Morgan Buckley, who travelled from Dublin to lend his wealth of knowledge to the Leading Rugby workshop, was pleased with the progress made.
“At the end of the day it’s all about building capacity within each Union, particularly administrative and off-field capacity to help develop the Game both locally and globally,” Buckley said.
“Of course each region has its own peculiarities and difficulties and often in the Oceania region these are magnified several fold with the difficulty of transportation, communication, training facilities and everything else we take for granted in more developed countries and regions.
“However with all these difficulties the Oceania region continues to be the most powerful region in world rugby, producing teams and players of outstanding quality.”
Assisting Cook in running the workshop was IRB Regional Manager for Oceania, William Glenwright
“All we need is to get these Unions to provide the quality of administrative capacity off the field to match the quality of play on it and this is what the Leading Rugby workshop has helped to address over the past two days,” Glenwright said.
“Obviously we won’t expect things to change overnight but gradually as we continue with more and more of these workshops we certainly hope to see a change within some of the Unions within three or four years.”
Cook Islands CEO Ben Koteka was thrilled to have been a part of the Leading Rugby workshop.
“It has certainly opened my eyes in terms of how we can build capacity within our own Union and as we continue to challenge the big three of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga I think it is vital we raise our standards off the field in order to help raise the quality of play on it,” Koteka said.
While the workshop may be over, IRB staff within the region will now work with each Union to assist them to update their strategies and programmes to enable them to improve how they lead and run rugby in their respective countries.
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