James Davies is the new Chair of WRL

James Davies, a former Wales U19 international and current chairman of Aberavon Fighting Irish, has been appointed as the new chairman of Wales Rugby League.

The 37-year old replaces Brian Juliff who ended an 11-year stint as chair last month.

James played for Wales U19s in the 2006 European Championships, before representing Wales Students in Australia in the 2008 World Cup under Clive Griffiths as Team Manager where they finished third, before playing in their 2009 Home Nations Championships win in England. At that time, he was also in the Celtic Crusaders Academy and played for the Fighting Irish.

James Davies (front row, third left) lines up as part of the Wales U19 side in 2005 before their 16-16 draw with England in Chosen Hill.

He also held various junior coaching roles within Wales Rugby League mentoring the likes of Regan Grace, Calvin Wellington and Courtney Davies who all came through from junior internationals to the Wales men’s side. Davies was previously a WRL board member at where he held the position of vice-chairman.

After a long break from rugby league due to work commitments, Davies played rugby union for clubs within Aberavon and also represented both Glamorgan County and Welsh Crawshays. He returned to rugby league two years ago, when he was appointed chairman of the reformed Aberavon Fighting Irish club.

Outside of sport, James has worked for Tata Steel UK since 2008. He has held many senior management roles within the business. His current role is Works Manager where he is responsible for the steel and slab manufacturing part of the business. His role consists of leading, coaching and developing a multi disciplined teams to delivery it’s tactical and strategy plans.

He says: “I am a believer in the adage that ability without opportunity is nothing, and I’m determined to ensure that Wales Rugby League continues to create a platform for wider community growth.

“As Chair, I will use my extensive range of management and leadership skills to ensure that cooperate governance are sustainable, based on sound business principles, and held on a firm financial footing. My belief in teamwork, effective communication, and collaborative leadership are the qualities by which my stewardship will be defined.

“I’ve seen first hand that when people can get an opportunity and support, then they can flourish. I’ve enjoyed watching from afar how Wales Rugby League has grown and become more inclusive, this is one reason why I wanted to become a part of it again, especially as I’ve been involved before. Great credit must be given to Brian Juliff and the Wales Rugby League board for how they have moved the game on over the last ten years.  

“Recently, I’ve particularly enjoyed watching the Men’s League. I was at the final in Merthyr and was impressed with the physical nature of the game but also the talent on show from the junior teams through to the men’s final. I’ve also enjoyed watching Wheelchair Rugby League in the last couple of years and my interactions with Port Talbot Panthers Mixed Ability rugby union club can show businesses and sport can work hand-in-hand.” 

“I believe that Wales Rugby League can give people opportunities at all levels and as the new Chairman, I want to help all areas of the organisation grow.”

James can be contacted on James.Davies@walesrugbyleague.co.uk