Wales RL recruit former England RU captain

The Wales Rugby League have recruited a key figure from English rugby union’s past, with Richard Greenwood joining the Wales Rugby League Board of Directors.

His recruitment was approaved at the National Governing Body’s Annual General Meeting this week.

Greenwood helped to steer the 15-man code to official professionalism in the 1990s, and he now lives in Colwyn Bay, North Wales.

Already involved in rugby league, Greenwood has helped the sport to put down real roots in North Wales.

He has been chairman of Rhyl and Prestatyn Panthers RLFC since 2011, and has been instrumental in establishing a solid financial base for the club.

He has also been coaching the club’s junior section, working with Under-16s, Under-12s and Under-10s.

Born in Chorley in Lancashire, Greenwood played rugby union for Waterloo RFC in Merseyside for most of his career.

He also represented Cambridge University, played for North of England against the All Blacks in 1967 and won five full caps for England RU, captaining them in his final game, a 17-15 defeat to Ireland in the 1969 Five Nations.

Leaving England in 1973, he played for Italian side, Rugby Roma between 1973 and 1978.

He then returned to his homeland to coach the England RU national team between 1983 and 1985, and later helped that code make its move to official and openly acknowledged professionalism.

Greenwood owns a company called ‘Richard Greenwood Associates Ltd’, which has been in existence for over 40 years now.

It started out as a food, wine and goods importing business, but 25 years ago or so, it became an event management and corporate hospitality company.

Greenwood has also been a key figure in the Wooden Spoon charity, both as a fundraiser and as an ambassador. Other charity work has involved raising thousands of pounds for injured rugby players in North Wales.

He is now looking to bring passion and enthusiasm to his new role with the WRL.

“My involvement is due to a function of both personality and passion and I cannot speak too highly of the work accomplished by Chris Thair and Brian Juliff over past couple of years and I am inspired by the passion and ebullience of Mike Nicholas, whose dedication to the cause is exemplary,” he said.

“Who could fail to be influenced by these outstanding personalities? I am delighted to have been asked to throw in my twopenn’orth on the WRL board.

“My personal commitment is to junior rugby league, I’m coaching at that level and I see an enormous amount of talent around the North Wales area.

“I am a passionate believer in the benefits of both codes of rugby to the well-being of our youngsters and one of the great developments I’ve seen in my life is the melting of the glacial icecap that used to separate both codes.

“This, in my opinion, is one of the best things that has happened in the entire history of rugby football.”

WRL Chief Operating Officer Chris Thair, who will remain on the board alongside chairman Brian Juliff, is pleased to be working with someone of Greenwood’s obvious calibre.

“Richard brings a wealth of experience from the game of rugby, event management and private business to the board,” he said.

“This, coupled with his clear passion for the continued growth of rugby league in Wales, offers the governing body with a very exciting cocktail of skills, contacts and drive that will be of huge benefit to the business and the sport.

“We now wish to build on this and advertisements for new board member positions will be sent out in the near future.

“These are very exciting times for Wales Rugby League and having a person of Richard’s calibre already in the sport with a willingness to do more, is another indication we are now getting things right here in Wales.

“Registrations show club participation levels are set to rise this year and 2016 will see us celebrate our tenth anniversary as an official NGB as we build towards the 2017 Rugby League World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.”

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