Strong year for New Zealand Rugby

Wed, 24 Apr 2013 18:44
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New Zealand Rugby had a strong 2012 marked by significant success on and off the field, Chairman Mike Eagle said on Wednesday.

New Zealand Rugby had a strong 2012 marked by significant success on and off the field, Chairman Mike Eagle said at the 121st Annual General Meeting of the New Zealand Rugby Union in Wellington on Wednesday.

“Without a doubt we can look back on 2012 with considerable pride and satisfaction.”

He said 2012 was marked by the All Blacks winning 12 of 14 Tests, the All Black Sevens securing their 10th IRB Sevens World Series title, the Chiefs becoming the first New Zealand side since 2008 to win the Super Rugby title, a surge in crowds and TV audiences and a rise in player numbers.

In addition, New Zealand Rugby posted an operating surplus of $3.2 million compared to a break even budget and the first operating surplus since 2008. The organisation also restored its cash reserves to $51.9m.

 “New Zealand Rugby’s financial future is more secure as we worked hard to contain costs, grow revenue and restore our cash reserves,” said Eagle.

“We not only face the future with renewed confidence, we also have a clear vision for rugby having developed a fresh strategic focus for the next four years that will guide all our efforts.

“Our Towards 2016 goals are ambitious and we make no apologies for that.”

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said the combination of on-field and off-field successes resulted in the organisation recording its best balanced scoreboard result since 2005 with a score of 87/100.

The 2012 scoreboard measures the performance of the organisation across six key areas.

“This is a very pleasing result as we were determined to back-up a very positive Rugby World Cup.

“It was driven by a winning All Black team, significant improvements in Community Rugby, underpinned by strong growth in player numbers and the Community Rugby Plan review, and Outstanding Competitions, which reflected increased fan interest in Tests, Super Rugby and ITM Cup.”

The 2013 scoreboard has been re-configured to reflect New Zealand Rugby’s performance in relation to the Towards 2016 goals.

The Annual General Meeting also saw Ian MacRae elected the new President of the New Zealand Rugby Union. He replaces Bryan Williams who has completed his two-year term.

“I am deeply honoured to be elected President and I will endeavour to walk in the shoes of the great men who have gone before me,” said MacRae who steps up from the Vice-President role he has undertaken over the past two years.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for me to give back to New Zealand rugby which has served me well over many decades and I promise to do my best in representing the game here and overseas.”

MacRae played 45 games for the All Blacks including 17 Tests and is a long-serving administrator and coach at club and representative level in Hawke’s Bay.

Eagle paid tribute to outgoing President Williams, describing him as a great ambassador for New Zealand rugby.

“Bryan has worked hard here and abroad representing the game he loves with great passion, humility and humour.

“You have given tirelessly to the game on many fronts over many years and the vigour you have brought to your latest role these past two years, as well as the two years you served as Vice-President, has been much appreciated by all of us today.”

The ballot for Vice-President was deferred to a later meeting due to an ineligibility issue. There were two nominations – chartered accountant Mark Peters and Canterbury businessman David Rhodes.

Peters's candidacy following his nomination by Tasman Rugby Football Union was ruled to be ineligible due to a constitutional clause that states former NZRU Board members are not eligible for election to the role of Vice-President or President for five years after ceasing their term as an NZRU Director.

Peters was an NZRU Director until 2009 and this was an oversight that was not identified until during voting at the Annual General Meeting.

“We sincerely apologise to Mark and David for not identifying this issue earlier,” said Eagle.

To ensure a robust voting process for the role of Vice-President, the meeting elected to carry over the vote to a special general meeting at a later date.

Former All Black and former Chief Executive of the Taranaki Rugby Football Union Mark Robinson was elected to the NZRU Board as the new representative for the Central Zone.

“We welcome Mark to the Board. He brings considerable business skills and a deep knowledge of the professional game from both an on field and off field perspective which will be invaluable in terms of helping the Board deal with the many complex issues we face,” said Eagle.

Eagle also acknowledged the contribution of retiring Central Zone Representative Graham Mourie who joined the Board in September 2002 and was New Zealand’s representative on the IRB’s Executive Committee, the Rugby Committee and numerous working groups on the game’s laws.

“Graham has made a huge difference to the way rugby is played and run here and overseas and he has impressed people around the rugby world with his efforts to achieve positive results for the game.”  

Following the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting, the Appointments and Remuneration Committee reappointed Brent Impey as Independent Director for a new three year term.

Impey had been appointed in 2012 to replace the late Christopher Doig. Board member Graham Cooney was also elected for a new term as the South Zone representative unopposed.

“We welcome both Graham and Brent back on to the Board,” said Eagle. “Their mix of governance and business experience has been of great value around the table and we look forward to their contributions over the next three years.”
New Zealand Rugby has also confirmed that following the Annual General Meeting, the Board will seek to appoint one appropriately experienced and qualified woman on to each of its Rugby and Commercial Board Sub-Committees.

“Appointing an experienced woman from outside the Board to each of these Committees is a first step to gaining some valuable gender balance while also adding relevant skills to both these influential Board committees,” said Eagle.

Brian Lochore, meanwhile, was elected as the new Patron of New Zealand Rugby.

Lochore replaces Wilson Whineray who passed away last year. The former All Black captain, coach and selector was also confirmed as a Life Member of the New Zealand Rugby Union in recognition of the exceptional service he has given to New Zealand rugby.

Eagle said: “Brian has had a long and deep involvement with New Zealand rugby and greatly deserves these honours. He brings tremendous knowledge and great respect to his new role of patron and I look forward to working closely with him.”

Lochore said it was a great honour to be elected Patron.

“I am incredibly humbled to be elected to this position. Rugby has been my life and I have had so many rich and rewarding experiences over many decades in the game and I hope as patron I can continue to make a valuable contribution to our great game.

“I am also very honoured to be awarded Life Membership.”

Background on Brian Lochore:
Became All Black number 637 in 1963 and played 68 matches for the All Blacks until 1971, 46 of which were as captain.  
Became All Black selector in 1983 and All Black coach two years later. Coached New Zealand in 1987 when the All Blacks won the inaugural Rugby World Cup.
Served as All Black Rugby World Cup campaign manager in 1995
Has filled many other playing, coaching and administrative roles at club, provincial and national level.
Former Chairman of the Hillary Commission and the QEII National Trust
Was knighted for services to sport in 1999 and elevated to the Order of New Zealand in 2007.