• Black Ferns team doctor Dr Deb Robinson elected following World Rugby’s historic governance reform
  • World Rugby’s ground-breaking Women’s Plan 2017-25 underpins drive to further gender equality at all levels of the game

New Zealand Rugby has announced the election of Dr Deb Robinson as New Zealand’s first female representative on World Rugby Council.

Dr Robinson joins New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew and former All Black and New Zealand Rugby Board Member Mark Robinson as New Zealand’s representatives, after a sweeping reform was introduced that aims for one-third women’s representation on Council.

The reform is the first step in World Rugby’s wider strategy to accelerate women in rugby on and off the field of play and bring gender-balance to the highest levels of its governance.

Under the reform, announced last November, World Rugby has increased the number of people who may sit on Council – its highest decision-making body – from 32 to 49, with the 17 new representatives to be women.   

Dr Robinson is the current team doctor for the world champion Black Ferns and spent seven years as doctor for the All Blacks, including their victorious Rugby World Cup 2011 campaign. 

“Joining the Council is a great opportunity to continue my contribution to the game at a governance level,” said Dr Robinson. “Player welfare is at the forefront of a lot of what World Rugby is doing and I can offer expertise in that area as someone who has been heavily involved in rugby medicine.” 

Tew said Dr Robinson will bring vast experience and knowledge to Council.

“It is really positive to see World Rugby lead the way with this governance reform and we’re looking forward to having Deb join us on Council. Deb’s involvement in rugby has been and continues to be first-class and she will no doubt prove to be a very valuable contributor on Council.”

World Rugby’s Women’s Plan 2017-25 underpins a commitment to be a global leader in sport, where women have equal opportunities in all areas, are integrated in strategy, plans and structures and make highly valued contributions to participation, performance, leadership and investment in the global game.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont added: “We are delighted to welcome Dr Deb Robinson on to World Rugby Council. I am certain that her depth of knowledge and experience in rugby, particularly in the field of player welfare, will make her an excellent addition to the governance of the game. 

“World Rugby is committed to leading change from the top and this reform to our governance structures reflects our ambition to drive gender equality at all levels of rugby.”