World Rugby appoints RWC 2019 General Manager


With just over three years to go before Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, World Rugby has appointed Rob Abernethy as RWC 2019 General Manager. Based full-time in Tokyo, he will oversee day-to-day management of the tournament organisers.

In what is another boost for tournament planning, Abernethy will be responsible for supporting and assisting the host union (Japan Rugby Football Union) and organising committee (Japan Rugby 2019) as they deliver a memorable event in accordance with World Rugby’s requirements and all contractual obligations and agreed standards.

Abernethy brings a wealth of major event experience to this position, including the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, 2002 Commonwealth Games, Rugby World Cup 2003, Football Federation Australia and the London 2012 Olympic Games.

An Australian, Abernethy has worked in Asia for a number of years and will relocate to Tokyo from his current home in Singapore, where he is deputy managing director at Singapore Sports Hub. Prior to his career in sports management, he represented Australia as a swimmer and is a World Championship medallist.

Abernethy said: “I’m delighted to be joining the team that will deliver Asia’s first Rugby World Cup. There are exciting times ahead and I look forward to working collaboratively with the JRFU, Japan Rugby 2019 and all key stakeholders to assist in the delivery of a world-class tournament that will thrill and excite spectators and leave a lasting legacy for rugby in Japan.”

Tournament Director Alan Gilpin said: “Rugby World Cup 2019 promises to be a game-changing event for rugby. It is the first time the tournament is being held in Asia and it presents an enormous opportunity for us to grow the game beyond its traditional heartlands.

“This role requires a proven ability to manage relationships with a wide range of people in a fast-paced and often challenging environment. Through the recruitment process, Rob showed himself to be an outstanding candidate with a proven track record of delivering world-class events against a demanding set of targets and objectives.”