The Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA) are delighted to announce the return of former President, Wallaby No. 770 Justin Harrison, as Chief Executive Officer.
Harrison, who served as RUPA President from 2004-2005, joins RUPA from the Classic Wallabies, where he has served as the organisation’s General Manager. His full-time return to RUPA represents another valuable step in his career transition, with his desire to give back to Australian Rugby something which stood out to RUPA Chairman Bruce Hodgkinson AM SC.
“Justin’s contribution to the game in Australia, and the journey which he has been through over the course of more than two decades, provides him with a fantastic perspective on the future of the game here and the role which RUPA will play within it,” Hodgkinson said.
“Justin’s prior experience within RUPA and knowledge gained as a player, coach and administrator within professional Rugby globally for more than 20 years positioned him as the ideal appointment.
“He cares deeply about the code’s success and wants to contribute to the positive direction of Australian Rugby. The Classic Wallabies is one of the most respected programs within Australian Rugby at this point in time, and Justin has been a major part of gaining that respect and delivering outstanding outcomes for the greater good of the game.”
Justin returned to Australia in January 2019 with his wife Bronwyn and their two sons, Jack and Hugo, after living abroad for almost a decade. Harrison said that he is looking forward to representing the players and helping to lead the code in a positive direction.
“The Australian Rugby eco-system is entering pivotal times, and I am excited to be given this opportunity to help shape what is on the horizon for our game,” Harrison said.
“All of us, as Australian Rugby’s stakeholders, have a responsibility to drive positive transformation, and to possess the desire to see the code return to the forefront of innovation on a global scale.
“The players have a great opportunity and a key role to play in delivering this change through engagement and real time investment through all levels of the game, and I look forward to representing our great Rugby family on behalf of the men, women, boys and girls who are the past, present and future members of RUPA.”
Harrison played 34 Tests for the Wallabies after debuting against the British & Irish Lions in Sydney (2001), as well as making 98 Super Rugby appearances for the Brumbies and NSW Waratahs, winning a Super Rugby title in 2001. He took his career abroad in 2005, representing Ulster (Nth Ireland) and Bath (England), and retired after a playing stint back in Canberra in 2010 which preceded his appointment as Brumbies Forwards Coach in 2011.
Justin continued to gain international Rugby experience when he moved to France, serving as Head Coach of Racing Club Narbonne Méditerranée for nearly six years. From a commercial perspective, he was employed with AFEX, a global payment solutions company headquartered in London, and he is also founding partner of sport and business consultancy group, HuBe.
Justin completed a Bachelor of Applied Science in Sports Administration at the University of Canberra in 2001.
Harrison will transition into his role, whilst at the same time completing existing commitments to the Classic Wallabies program, over the course of the next eight weeks.
Image provided courtesy Rugby.com.au/Stu Walmsley