Rugby Australia announces Daniel Herbert as new Chair as Hamish McLennan steps down

Sun, Nov 19, 2023, 11:55 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Daniel Herbert is the new RA Chairman. Photo: Getty Images
Daniel Herbert is the new RA Chairman. Photo: Getty Images

Rugby Australia has confirmed Daniel Herbert as the new Chairman after Hamish McLennan stood down from the role on Sunday.

The former Wallaby takes over immediately, having been on the board of Rugby Australia since 2020.

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"The board considered that Herbert’s experience is ideally suited to leading the development of the game from the grassroots to the elite level, across women’s and men’s Rugby," a statement from RA read. 

"In addition, he is well placed to lead the board’s continued and unwavering commitment to Rugby Australia’s strategy of aligning the game across the country."

Herbert played 67 Tests for Australia, and was a part of the Wallabies teams that won the 1999 Rugby World Cup, 2001 British and Irish Lions Series, The Rugby Championship and five straight Bledisloe Cups.

He has also held roles with the QLD Rugby Union and called for unity within the game.

“It has never been more important for the Rugby Australia board, working with Member Unions, to come together and execute the reform we absolutely need for an aligned high-performance system and to deliver on the commitments we have made, including to invest in Community and Women’s Rugby.  

“Australia will host the British and Irish Lions Tour in 2025, the Men’s 2027 Rugby World Cup and the Women’s 2029 Rugby World Cup and the 2032 Olympic Games – the reform we progress now will underpin the competitiveness of our national teams, as well as building deeper engagement with the Rugby community and fans everywhere.” 

“We note that the different Member Unions are not opposing Rugby Australia’s centralisation proposals and remain committed to supporting high performance alignment.”

Daniel Herbert and Tim Horan celebrate winning the Rugby World Cup in 1999
Daniel Herbert and Tim Horan celebrate winning the Rugby World Cup in 1999

The decision came after six member unions, including Queensland, the ACT and RugbyWA, called for McLennan to resign on Friday.

They cited a 'lack of trust or faith in his leadership, or the direction in which he is taking rugby in Australia.'

McLennan indicated his desire to challenge the decision before the board reportedly met on Sunday, with Herbert appointed as the new Chairman

"The board acknowledges the strategic agenda that Hamish has been instrumental in driving, through COVID and other challenges, ensuring that Rugby in Australia continued through very challenging times," the statement added.

"He departs the role of Chair having been a central figure in Australia securing the hosting rights to major Rugby events that will inspire generations of players and supporters, as well as delivering the current broadcast rights deal and helping to turn around the governing body’s financial position."

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