Jamie Roberts Proud To Step Up And Join WRU Board

Former Wales centre Jamie Roberts. Pic: Getty Images.

Jamie Roberts Proud To Step Up And Join WRU Board

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By Gareth James

Jamie Roberts has spoken of his pride after being selected for a new role in Welsh rugby – one of three Independent Non-Executive Directors on the 12-strong WRU Board.

Another playing legend, Terry Cobner, is set to take over from fellow Seventies star Gerald Davies as the WRU’s 51st president after next month’s AGM.

Roberts, the former double Grand Slam winning centre who also helped the British & Irish Lions win the series in Australia in 2013, joins Amanada Bennett and Jennifer Mathias as the latest influx of new blood on the board now led by the union’s first independent chair, Richard Collier-Keywood.

“As a recently retired international player I have an immense passion for Welsh rugby. It is a huge honour to take on a position of responsibility and influence during such an important period for the game in Wales,” said Roberts, who won the last of his 94 caps in 2017.

“My experiences across the world have provided me with a varied and valuable insight into high performance from a player’s perspective and I relish the opportunity to harness my experience and knowledge on and off the playing field to contribute further to the WRU and a sport that has shaped my life.”

While Roberts will bring with him recent in-depth rugby experience from a professional career that saw him play at clubs in Wales, England, France, South Africa and Australia, the 59-year-old Bennett will do the same on the women’s side of the game.

She played at two World Cups with Wales and went on to coach both Walles and England and has been a leading light in the development of women’s rugby over the past 40 years at both professional and community levels. Mathias is Chief Financial Officer of FTSE 250 plc, financial services firm, Rathbones.

There is still one more INED post to fill and the board will lost the vast experience of former Wales and Llaneli prop Anthony Buchanan next moth when he steps down. The 12-person Board which governs Welsh rugby is made up of eight appointed directors including the Chair and CEO, with four places being filled from the WRU Council.


While the results of the enquiry into allegations of sexism and misogyny at the union are still to emerge, the appointments of Bennett and Mathias, along with that of new CEO Abi Tierney and newly in-post INED Alison Thorne, will take Collier-Keywood‘s new-look board to the cusp of the 40% female representation he was hoping for.

“I’m as passionate now about the growth and success of rugby in Wales, especially women’s rugby, as I was when I started my playing career,” said Bennett, who was the starting outside half in Wales’ first women’s international in 1987.

“I aim to use my governance, leadership and inclusion expertise, as well as my rugby knowledge and experience, as a board director in this role.”

Wales reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in France against all odds, while the women’s were third in the Six Nations and are currently playing in the top tier of the new World Rugby WXV women’s tournament in New Zealand.

“The new WRU Board is taking shape and we’re delighted with the blend of business and commercial experience, governance acumen and elite sporting knowledge that we have been able to put together,” said Collier-Keywood.

“We’ve not only significantly improved the gender diversity of our Board, but also introduced a new diversity of thought and experience in terms of both age and occupation, with the high profile appointment of individuals who are hugely respected in their respective fields.”

The 77-year-old Cobner adds another honour to his name having played in two Grand Slam winning sides, been on a British & Irish lions tour and both captain and coached his country. A former WRU Director of Rugby, he takes over as President unopposed by the member clubs.

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