Other candidates in the mix included former NRL chief Todd Greenberg, former Cricket NSW CEO Andrew Jones, and Chris White, the boss of sport branding and sponsorship company International Quarterback.

The sources stressed that no deal had been signed and there were still other candidates in the mix but said Marinos was in a final round of meetings with key stakeholders.

Marinos has spent his career working in rugby in Australia and South Africa and has experience leading a commercial and marketing division – an area former advertising executives McLennan and Clarke consider hugely important for growing the code’s fanbase.

He also worked closely with Clarke during rugby’s broadcast rights negotiations this year. Rugby sources indicated that new broadcast partners Nine Entertainment Co (owner of this masthead) and subscription service Stan were impressed by his efforts.

Nine and Stan signed a three-year $100 million deal with RA in early November.

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The appointment of a CEO to Rugby Australia would mark an end to a difficult but significant year for the rugby union.

The retirement of chairman Paul McLean, the abrupt departure of Castle and the end to a two decade long relationship with Foxtel are among the major changes for the sport, which is also under a lot of financial pressure.



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