Richard Hibbard appointed as Chief Executive Officer

Wales Rugby League is delighted to announce the appointment of Richard Hibbard as our new Chief Executive Officer.

An entrepreneur from Port Talbot, Richard owns two restaurants in his home town and has successfully launched the ‘Mortal Bunny Rum’ brand, that can be found in high street supermarket chains including Tesco, Morrisons, and Marks and Spencer.

Richard enjoyed a successful 19-year playing career in rugby union, winning 38 caps and two Six Nations titles for Wales. He toured Australia with the British and Irish Lions in 2013, starting the decisive third test in Sydney.

He played for Ospreys, Gloucester, Dragons, Aberavon and Swansea, plus Crawshays and the Barbarians in a distinguished club and representative career which saw domestic and European success. His passion for rugby league pre-dates his rugby union career, earning a cap for Wales Dragonhearts – the representative side of the community game in Wales, helping them to win the Four Nations in 2003. He also played for Aberavon Fighting Irish in the first-ever Wales Rugby League Grand Final in 2003.

Richard’s role will be particularly focused on creating partnerships that can support the development of the sport at all levels, from grassroots to senior international sides.

“I’m delighted to join Wales Rugby League,” said Richard.

“Rugby league has always been important to me and I would have loved to have had a season or two as a player. But now I’m presented with the next best thing – an amazing opportunity to bring awareness of the rich talent we have in our country.

“I want to grow the sport of league in Wales the right way, from the bottom up, and shaping the game that’s right for Wales, creating opportunities both within the community all the way to elite levels, built on strong foundations.

“To do that, we’ll all need to work together. Integral to that will be strengthening relationships with our stakeholders, and creating new partnerships and relationships that are mutually beneficial.

“And we can never forget our strongest asset – the community of players, families and supporters”

James Davies, chair of Wales Rugby League, commented: “I’m thrilled to have Richard join us as we strive to develop and strengthen as a governing body.

“What Richard has achieved both as a player and a businessman has been impressive. We believe the attributes and characteristics he brings are aligned to our vision and cultural journey. He knows what being involved in an elite environment looks like and the importance of a strong balance sheet to support this.

“Richard will aim to create new partnerships that help us to achieve vision – from providing more people with the opportunity to play the game in Wales, to successful representative teams that can showcase our nation on the international stage. Richard impressed the Board during our discussions, and he knows the importance of creating a strong brand that people want to be involved or associated with.

“We as a board understand that we have great people within the performance side of the governing body who will now be supported by our recent appointment of Clive Griffiths as Director of Performance. We also recognise the need to be more commercially focused where we build reciprocal partnerships which not only allows our game grow, but benefits the businesses and institutions we partner with too. 

“We all know there is lots of hard work ahead of us, but Richard’s appointment along with that of some new board members in recent weeks, we believe we have the right foundations in place so we can build a sustainable high-performing governing body both on and off the field for the future.”