Former England rugby union captain and coach, Richard Greenwood, has joined the Wales Rugby League Board of Directors following approval at the National Governing Body’s Annual General Meeting this week.
A key reformist in the RFU’s move to professionalism in the nineties, the 73-year old now resides in Colwyn Bay and has been key figure in Rugby League’s huge rise in popularity in North Wales.
Chairman of Rhyl and Prestatyn Panthers RLFC since 2011, he has been instrumental in establishing solid foundations for the finances of the club, but his most enjoyable and rewarding role has been developing the junior section, coaching at under 16, under 12 and under 10 level at the fledgling Welsh Rugby League club.
Chorley-born, Greenwood played 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 before coaching the English national side between 1983 and 1985 and was then influential in rugby union’s transition to professionalism in the late 1990s.
Outside of rugby, he owns “Richard Greenwood Associates Ltd” which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. Previously a food, wine and goods import business, for the last 25 years, it has been an event management and corporate hospitality company.
He has also been a driving force behind Wooden Spoon – the children’s charity of rugby, aiding physically, mentally and socially disadvantaged youngsters throughout the British Isles – since 1994, first as a fund-raiser and latterly as an ambassador. In addition, he has raised thousands of pounds for seriously injured rugby players in North Wales since 2012.
Greenwood said: “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. 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 delighted with Greenwood’s appointment.
“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”.