Howard handed ARU high performance role
PA Sport
August 2, 2007

Former Leicester boss Pat Howard has been appointed general manager of the Australian Rugby Union's high performance unit.

Howard returned home to Australia earlier this summer after leading Leicester to the Guinness Premiership and EDF Energy Cup double.

ARU chief executive John O'Neill said: ``Pat will bring great rugby intellect and innovation to this critical aspect of the business, namely the direction of elite coaching and professional player talent identification and development.''

Howard was named the director of rugby of the year after Leicester became the first team to reach the Premiership, EDF Energy and Heineken Cup finals in the same season.

The Tigers won the first two - beating the Gloucester and the Ospreys - but were denied an historic treble by Wasps in the Heineken Cup final.

Pat Wilson, formerly General Manager of the Rugby Unit, has accepted the role of Head of Special Projects, covering such areas as logistical arrangements around the Rugby World Cup and the review of the player contracting system.

Pat will also assist the Deputy CEO Matt Carroll with the management of the Australian Rugby Championship.

Brian West will also leave the ARU tomorrow as the role of General Manager, Public Affairs and Communications no longer exists. The Media and Communications function will be absorbed into the CEO's office.

Geoff Shaw, General Manager of Community Rugby, will also be the ARU's Project Manager on the recently announced project, namely the National Academy at Ballymore.

Finally, Brian Thorburn is leaving the organisation and Matt Carroll will assume responsibility for Commercial Operations, as well as Rugby Services.

"I would like to thank Brian very much for his incredible 12 years service and contribution to Australian Rugby and we wish him well for the future," said John O'Neill.

O'Neill concluded,"the changes flatten the organisation structure and enables me to become closer to all the key components of the business and have up to seven direct reports. It makes sense."

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