Source: Gov.UK

Welsh Rugby has a new CEO

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The appointment of Abi Tierney, currently Ethics Advisor at the Home Office, as the first female CEO of the Welsh Rugby Union marks another huge step-change in the history of the WRU.

Everybody with an interest in rugby, not merely the Welsh themselves, must hope this marks an end to the troubles that have spiralled almost out of control in the Principality. Serious accusations of misogyny and sexism had created a storm of protest and uncertainty; heads had rolled, and it had fallen to Nigel Walker, in an interim post, to attempt a restructuring.

To my mind he worked wonders, not least to correct shortcomings in the field of women’s rugby. The squad’s presence in the top tier of WXV is one clear proof of his success. The buoyancy of the their performances in the last Six Nations was plain to see.

Tierney’s CV is said to outshine all her competitors. She has proven experience in the areas that matter most, such as strategic planning. It will be put to a severe test in another sector that is still in the toils, Welsh men’s rugby. It will need very clear thinking to sort out the multiple issues faced there. Test players are still busy signing on for clubs abroad.

Walesonline’s coverage of the appointment has one interesting feature: it lists a string of people who, they claim, put their name forward. They include Andy Marinos, who ran Rugby Australia, Sophie Howe, former Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Steve Dalton, the CE of Football Association of Wales, and even Walker himself.

This information makes an interesting contrast with the icy silence surrounding the appointment of John Mitchell to the post of England Women’s head coach. We are left to imagine who might and might not have thrown their hat into that ring.

We cannot expect immediate results from Tierney’s appointment, but at least the WRU looks to be safe hands. We all wish her well.