SAANZAR have today announced that current chief operating officer Brendan Morris has been elevated to the CEO role, while Argentina’s Marcelo Rodriguez has taken over as the executive committee’s chairman.
Morris will replace Andy Marinos, who spent five years in the chief executive officer role but has now been appointed head of Rugby Australia.
Morris has previously held senior positions with the Queensland Reds, the Wallabies and Rugby Australia.
Rodriguez’s appointment, meanwhile, temporarily increases Argentina’s presence on the SANZAAR exco, with the president of the Argentina Rugby Union taking over from New Zealand’s Brent Impey – who is also standing down from the NZR board.
SANZAAR have agreed to rotate the chairman role between the four member unions, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, on a 12-month basis.
Following the first meeting of 2021, new the new chairman said, “I would like to deeply thank the unions of South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, our partners in SANZAAR, for this recognition. It highlights that as a group we are committed to working together for the benefit of all our national unions, and in the continued pursuit of the growth of our sport globally.”
“This appointment as SANZAAR Chairman stands as strong recognition of the UAR and Argentine rugby. Indeed, in recent times we have seen Argentina rugby grow stronger and produce some great performances and this appointment is a clear demonstration of the respect and international prestige achieved by Argentinean rugby all over the world.”
As alluded to by Rodriguez, Argentina have gone from strength to strength since joining The Rugby Championship in 2012, with the Jaguares making the Super Rugby final for the first time in 2019 – just four years into their existence as a team.
Change is in the water, however, with Super Rugby all but buried thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Jaguares will now play in South America’s premier rugby competition – a significant step-down – while all their top players have headed off-shore to play their club rugby.
Despite Super Rugby coming to an end, however, The Rugby Championship will continue to operate with all four SANZAAR unions taking part.
At the smallest sign of trouble, Australia have suspended travellers arriving from New Zealand. How confident are the powers that be that Trans-Tasman Super Rugby will go ahead, given the restrictions? #AllBlacks #Wallabies #SuperRugbyhttps://t.co/WXYdtgljq1
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 28, 2021
New CEO, Brendan Morris, highlighted the difficulties that professional rugby faced due to the pandemic but was confident that SANZAAR could emerge in a strong position in the years to come.
“I am delighted to step into the role of CEO at the organisation and continue to work with the very dedicated and talented people we have in the sport,” he said. “Of course, rugby and sport in general face many challenges due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic. That said I believe SANZAAR is in a strong position to move forward given the work already done to reformat our competitions and to streamline our cross-border operations.”
“The aim now is to consolidate what Super Rugby will look like in the future, continue to work with World Rugby on a global rugby calendar that is fit for purpose in today’s sporting environment and to continue the success of The Rugby Championship that is the flagship of SANZAAR and one of the major drivers to our National Unions’ success at Rugby World Cup.”
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