The International Rugby Players Association (IRPA) has announced the appointments of Johnny Sexton and Richie McCaw as the inaugural Presidents for North and South respectively.
As two of the most recognised and respected players from around the world, both are seen as ideally placed to oversee and represent the collective voice of their fellow players from around the globe.
Both players are passionate about making a difference on issues of international importance to the players and the game. Sexton and McCaw will take an active part on various IRPA Player Advisory Groups and will use their expert opinion and stature to build on the collaborative relationship with World Rugby, the international Governing Body.
Sexton said: “IRPA represents the elite player’s interests at a global level, it is fundamental to the success of the game that our playing environments and welfare provisions allow us to compete to the best of our ability.
"It is with this in mind that I am delighted and honoured to be the IRPA’s President North. I congratulate Richie and look forward to working with him in the exciting year ahead. ”
McCaw added: “I’m delighted to be recognised as IRPA’s first President South. To be invited to work alongside Johnny on behalf of the 4,000 professional rugby players throughout the world is a real honour.
"As players we are in a unique and privileged position to help mould the future of our great game. In doing this it is our responsibility to work with the administration of the game in an organised and professional manner, with the integrity of our sport and welfare of our people foremost in our minds.”
IRPA Chairman Damian Hopley welcomed both appointments.
“IRPA believes that the game needs modern day professionals who are prepared to stand up for what is right for the welfare of their players and future of the professional game.
"I have no doubt that Johnny and Richie’s leadership and standing in the game will make an immense difference in assisting and advising our organisation going forward. By sharing best practise across the member Associations, we will continue to strive to enhance the welfare and working conditions of players across the globe.”