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Turnaround starts

by Gary Caffell

130314142241IVIIKVRHWairarapa-Bush Rugby Union is intent on putting its house in order and the sooner the better.

That was the message coming from new chief executive officer Tony Hargood and John Kirkup, NZRFU business analyst for provincial unions, in Masterton yesterday.

Hargood and Kirkup expressed confidence that the financial problems, which saw the Wairarapa-Bush union loaned $130,000 over a three-year term by the national body to pay their creditors, were now history.

“It’s fair to say those hassles should never have occurred but the important thing is to look forward,” Kirkup said.

“There are several areas of efficiency which need to be addressed and I am sure that will happen.”

And those sentiments were echoed by Hargood, who said he was formulating a strategic plan for the next five to 10 years aimed at growing the sport in the local region, on and off the field.

“Changes have to be made, it’s as simple as that,” he said. “We have to bring new ideas to the table, we can’t afford to stand still.”

Intentions are to appoint four independent board members at the WBRU’s annual meeting in May, something which was a condition of the loan from the NZRFU and allowed through the updating of the constitution.

These positions are being advertised and the selection panel will be chaired by Bob Field, an independent NZRFU board member who was CEO for Toyota New Zealand for more than 25 years. He was involved in a similar process for the Otago RFU when it ran into financial difficulties.

Joining him on the selection panel will be high-profile local community leader Bob Francis – once ranked the top referee in the world – and John Harwood, a representative of the WBRU’s council of clubs.

“After finding itself in a precarious position last year, the WBRU has begun to turn things around and this process is an important part of that,” Field said.

“Rugby has a strong history in the Wairarapa-Bush region spanning 127 years and has great prospects moving forward.”

Field said rugby knowledge and empathy for the game would obviously be an advantage for the applicants, but it was not a pre-requisite.

“Of more importance is that the successful candidates will cover one of a range of skills that the selection panel is looking for, including financial, marketing, human resources and sports governance experience.

“This is a great opportunity for someone who has wanted to be part of a sporting organisation at a strategic level.

“The diversity of the game in the region with a wide geographical spread and the growing interest in women’s rugby needs to be reflected on the board so it continues to be relevant to its stakeholders and the community.”

The positions of independent board members are being advertised on the WBRU and nzrugby.co.nz websites with applications closing on Monday, March 25.

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