The CEO search was put on hold when McLennan asked Clarke to stay on until March but, after a turbulent year for the game, Australian rugby finally has a new leader.

Marinos will join RA in February, when he will undergo a four-week handover with Clarke.

The 48-year-old carved out a career as a professional rugby and rugby league player. He represented Wales on eight occasions and ran out for the Canterbury Bulldogs in 1996.

He has held roles with the South African Rugby Union (SARU), where he worked as general manager for commercial and marketing. He was also a Springboks team manager, manager of South African national teams, as well as a SARU acting managing director and board member.

Marinos began with SANZAAR at the end of 2015, basing himself in Sydney, and has worked closely with Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina in recent years.

Just this year, Marinos was in charge when SANZAAR decided to give Australia hosting rights for the Rugby Championship at late notice, which did not go down well with New Zealand Rugby.

McLennan said being awarded hosting rights for the Rugby Championship had nothing to do with the appointment of Marinos.

In a statement released by RA, McLennan said: “Andy is an extremely impressive and experienced rugby administrator who covered every key criterion that the board wanted to see in our new chief executive officer. He’s called Australia home for the last five years and he has an outstanding understanding of the rugby landscape in this country.

Marinos and McLennan pose for a photo at September's announcement that Australia would host the Rugby Championship.

Marinos and McLennan pose for a photo at September’s announcement that Australia would host the Rugby Championship. Credit:Getty

“He has a wealth of experience in managing broadcasters and commercial partners and also boasts impeccable relationships with the Six Nations unions which, together with his SANZAAR connections, strengthens Rugby Australia’s bid to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

“Through his recent roles in Wales, with South African Rugby and with SANZAAR, Andy is uniquely placed to hit the ground running in 2021 with a new broadcast landscape and new competition structures.

“This is an exciting time for rugby with a new broadcast partnership with Nine Entertainment Co., as well as the opportunity we have in the community level of the game.

“Andy has an exciting vision for rugby in Australia, and he knows what needs to be done to continue the code’s success into 2021 and beyond. I congratulate Andy on his appointment and look forward to working with him.”

In a statement, Marinos said he was incredibly humbled to take up the role.

“[I am] very excited about rugby’s future in this country,” Marinos said. “Despite there being a lot of hard work ahead, I believe that Rugby Australia is uniquely placed for success both domestically and on the global stage. We need to hit the ground running and build momentum from the start so we can continue to move forward with deliberate intent, as we look to reignite the game from the bottom up. Next year has an exciting domestic and international rugby calendar so we need to be ready to maximise these opportunities.


“The game has endured substantial change over the last six to eight months and I’m optimistic and excited to be involved with Rugby Australia as it heads off in a new, positive strategic direction.

“We have a new broadcast partner in Nine Entertainment Co, a Rugby World Cup bid for 2027, a British and Irish Lions tour on the horizon, new competition formats, an exciting Wallabies calendar, an Olympic Games for our sevens teams and a Rugby World Cup for our Wallaroos.

“I’m looking forward to the start of the new year, meeting and engaging with as many stakeholders as I can, as we continue rugby’s growth at the grassroots level, as well as amongst our fans and participants.”

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