Having consulted with my union and region colleagues and my family, I can confirm that I will be seeking re-election as World Rugby Chairman at the Council meeting in May.
I will be standing with Fédération Française de Rugby President Bernard Laporte as my candidate for Vice-Chairman.
Bernard is a great servant of the game and shares my vision for a strong, sustainable and inclusive game that provides even greater opportunity for expansion and growth.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this four-year term and have always sought to lead for the global game, not the few, by engaging with all levels of our sport to understand what really matters to our unions, players, fans, broadcasters and commercial partners.
Through this spirit of engagement and partnership, collectively we have achieved a great deal and I would like to thank the World Rugby membership for their commitment to taking a global perspective, enabling us to:
• Deliver a truly game-changing and record-breaking Rugby World Cup 2019 igniting rugby growth in Asia, a special Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017, an innovative Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 and a fantastic Olympic Games debut
• Fuel record participation and rapid fan growth driven by young people, largely female, in emerging rugby markets
• Put player welfare at the heart of all our decisions, implementing an evidence-based approach to stabilise injuries and reduce concussion risk in the game
• Implement historic governance reform, delivering an agile, fit-for-purpose decision-making structure, furthering the role and contribution of women on Council and across our committees
• Launch our ambitious 2017-25 Women’s Plan, driving forward new and meaningful competition, commercial, participation, profile and leadership opportunities
• Reform our eligibility rules for international representation, protecting the integrity of the test environment
Serving the game is a privilege and while we have made great, game-changing progress over the last four years and accelerate into a new decade in excellent shape, there is much work to be done. I am excited by the future and the opportunities for rugby and should I be re-elected, Bernard and I would:
• Undertake further governance reform of World Rugby structures
• Reinforce the international competition structure with a focus on unions outside of the Six Nations and The Rugby Championship
• Strengthen the financial sustainability of the game
• Strengthen and accelerate the development of women in rugby
• Promote greater player dialogue with a particular focus on player welfare
World Rugby is a strong organisation, and it is important that we further reform our decision-making structures for the betterment of all in the game as we accelerate into a new decade full of opportunity. The global rugby landscape is constantly changing and there is opportunity, and necessity, to implement structured and consistent international competitions, supporting the development of our unions, especially those who do not participate in the Six Nations and The Rugby Championship, while generating further engagement, interest and commercial investment.
I will be unveiling further details of our five-point manifesto in due course.