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Australia appoints world's first female national rugby union chief executive

Webb Ellis trophy

Australia, which co-hosted the inaugural Rugby World Cup with New Zealand in 1987 and staged it alone in 2003, will bid to host the women's World Cup in 2021 and the men's edition in 2027.

The former Canterbury NRL chief executive, and head of Netball New Zealand, will be the first woman to head any of the national governing bodies of the four major football codes in Australia.

All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.

She will replace departing chief Bill Pulver, who opted to step down earlier this year following the controversial decision to axe Super Rugby franchise Western Force from the competition.

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.

Castle, a former boss of Netball New Zealand, has been tasked with unifying the sport after the protracted and acrimonious Super Rugby saga. I'm excited about the opportunity.

"The first priority is to take a breath", she said. "My experience in rugby league was very strong; I don't expect my experience in rugby union to be any different".

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"I have known Raelene for a number of years, and have a huge regard for her and we are really looking forward to working with her".

"[The Bulldogs] really helped me understand the Australian sporting landscape".

He joined ESPNscrum after a five-year stint heading up Fox Sports Australia's digital rugby coverage.

Rugby Australia, which has been beleaguered by off-field drama as well as dwindling participation numbers, TV audiences and match attendances, said Castle impressed during a "very daunting interview process" with her background in sports administration and commercial nous.

"This will make the Wallaroos a significantly stronger outfit moving forward".

"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".

"It's going to be great to see women's state teams slug it out against each other and will open a lot of girls' eyes up to the opportunities for them in rugby".

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