Jamie Roberts among new WRU board members

Jamie Roberts played 94 times for Wales and won two Grand Slams and a Six Nations Championship. Credit: WRU

Former Wales centre Jamie Roberts has been appointed to the board of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU).

Roberts takes on the role as one of the Union's new independent directors, with former Wales player and coach Amanda Bennett and financial and commercial expert Jennifer Mathias.

Terry Cobner has also been confirmed as the next President of the WRU.

Cat Read and Henry Engelhardt will be stepping down from the board over the coming weeks.

Roberts played 94 times for Wales and won two Grand Slams and a Six Nations Championship, all while studying medicine and later gaining further degrees from both Loughborough and Cambridge Universities.

Amanda Bennett was Wales' first women's fly-half in the inaugural 1987 side. Credit: WRU

The new 12-person Board which governs Welsh rugby is made up of eight appointed directors, including the Chair and CEO.

Seven of these have now been announced which includes four women from the sports and business worlds.

The remaining four elected places are subject to elections in November and by the end of the year the new Board will be in place with the WRU’s published gender diversity ambitions set to be realised.

“As a recently retired international player I have an immense passion for Welsh rugby." Said Roberts.

"It is a huge honour to take on a position of responsibility and influence during such an important period for the game in Wales.

“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.”

Bennett, a decorated former player with Saracens women, was Wales' first women's fly-half in the inaugural 1987 side and is a veteran of two World Cups. She later became head coach between 1998 and 2000.

She is also a former teacher and worked for UK Sport for a decade.

She has since established FairPlay Enterprises Ltd, advising on governance, leadership and EDI for the Premier League and all four home Unions.

"I am as passionate now as I was when I started my playing career about the growth and success of rugby in Wales, especially women’s rugby." Bennett said.

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

“Wales Women are climbing the world rankings and this is as a result of the WRU’s current performance leadership and investment programme. This programme is on route to becoming world leading, based on the implementation of recommendations of the WRU’s 2021 Women’s Performance review.

Jennifer Mathias describes herself as a ‘deeply commercial’ CFO. Credit: WRU

"These are exciting times for the women’s game and this progress will form part of the wider strategic direction for the game as a whole. I am really looking forward to shaping that future with the Chair and Board colleagues."

Mathias, from a Pembrokeshire, describes herself as a ‘deeply commercial’ CFO, working for the London Stock Exchange listed wealth management firm Rathbones.

“I am delighted to be bringing my financial and transformation experience to help the WRU prosper during this most critical and important strategic journey ahead." She said.

"I firmly believe this is a WRU which will create a one-Wales approach to rugby resulting in a modern, accessible and sustainable future for the game in Wales at all levels.”

Richard Collier-Keywood, WRU chair, said: “We have recruited a wide and diverse range of high quality candidates to new Board positions from an extremely high quality field.

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

“We have 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 appointment of individuals who are hugely respected in their respective fields.”

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