Australia's Castle shatters rugby union glass ceiling

Lynette Rowe
December 13, 2017

Castle and Cheika met briefly after her appointment, but the CEO said she wouldn't be afraid to ask questions of the national mentor if necessary.

While sevens rugby has been booming for the Australian national side leading to the establishment of a women's domestic university competition a year ago, the new 15-a-side competition will see a much more defined national pathway built to Wallaroos representation.

SYDNEY, Australia - Rugby Australia announced plans to bid for the women's and men's World Cups on the same day it launched a national women's competition. "We are really looking forward to working with her".

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew was among the first to congratulate Castle, saying the appointment heralded a new era for the sport.

Castle endured a hard year at the Bulldogs before she departed the club towards the end of the 2017 NRL season. Castle is no stranger to passionate coaches, having worked with former Bulldogs coach Des Hasler. Hasler now is suing the club for more than $Aus2 million in damages.

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In that interview, Cheika ranted at a television interviewer who asked him about his mid-game outburst picked up on the TV broadcast in which he appeared to call someone on the field "f-- cheats" during the first half.

The experienced sports administrator will take up her post in January, replacing Bill Pulver, whose contract was due to expire in February. That's not just men, that's women. Less than two months later, she will get her first taste of the professional game as Rugby Australia chief when the revised 15-team Super Rugby competition kicks off in late February.

Clyne added that Castle would bring a "fresh set of eyes" to rugby union in Australia, while Steve Tew, chief executive of New Zealand Rugby, called her appointment "a new era for global rugby".

"For a young girl picking up a rugby ball for the first-time next season, she will now have a clear and accessible pathway to represent her country through the Buildcorp Wallaroos and Qantas Australian Women's Sevens team", Pulver said via a media release.

"I think that's a challenge that SANZAAR recognise and we all need to be looking at that in a competitive sports market: How do we make those games competitive?"

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