Raelene Castle: Rugby Australia appoints first woman chief

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Raelene Castle is excited by the challenge of turning around rugby's fortunes in Australia, but doesn't believe her appointment as Rugby Australia chief executive is a ground-breaking moment for women in sports administration.

Castle, a former chief executive of Australian rugby league club Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Netball New Zealand, reportedly beat more than 200 candidates for the role.

"For a young girl picking up a rugby ball for the first-time next season, she will now have a clear and accessible pathway to represent her country through the Buildcorp Wallaroos and Qantas Australian Women's Sevens team", Pulver said via a media release.

"Raelene is an extremely impressive executive who covered every base as far as what the Board was looking for in a Chief Executive Officer to lead our game into an important new chapter".

Former Wallabies captain Phil Kearns had been widely tipped to take over rugby's top job before reports that Ms Castle had clinched the role surfaced. This will make the Buildcorp Wallaroos a significantly stronger outfit moving forward.

RA had said last month they were interested in hosting future World Cups, with the decision by the New South Wales state government to spend around A$2 billion ($1.51 billion) demolishing and renovating three Sydney venues a factor in Wednesday's announcement.

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"Raelene will bring a fresh set of eyes to the challenges and opportunities at Rugby Australia, bringing to us her learnings from other codes".

"We congratulate Raelene on her appointment, which is an acknowledgement of her strength as a leader, and her ability to drive success both on and off the field", he said.

"We have a fantastic Olympic pathway for our women's athletes in Sevens and that female market's really hot with the launch of lots of new female competitions, so we know we're in a race", she said.

SYDNEY, Australia - Rugby Australia announced plans to bid for the women's and men's World Cups on the same day it launched a national women's competition.

"Having followed Rugby closely for over 30 years and having worked in the New Zealand and Australian sporting environments for the past 10 years, there is no doubt Australian rugby has a clear global and domestic offering for both male and female athletes that can be further developed and strengthened. We are really looking forward to working with her".

Before that she headed up Netball New Zealand.

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