The organizing committee for the two upcoming Rugby World Cups (RWC) to be hosted in Australia – the men’s in 2027 and the women’s in 2029 – has brought in Chris Stanley as its managing director.
The announcement of Stanley's appointment to head up the 2027 Local Operating Company (LOC), made by the World Rugby governing body today (April 5), follows the first meeting of the LOC in Sydney this week.
World Rugby has said his initial priorities will include “resourcing of the organizing company, and furthering engagement with state governments and host cities as the pivotal venue selection process progresses.”
Stanley joins from events delivery and optimization firm MI Global Partners, where he has served as chief executive since June 2011, and will take up the role in July.
At the firm, headquartered in Sydney, Stanley has managed projects across a broad range of industries, including assisting in the delivery of major sports events such as previous editions of the Rugby World Cup.
He was also involved in the bids for both 2027 and 2029 RWCs.
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Before joining MI Global Partners, originally in 2003, Stanley was head of technology at that year’s Rugby World Cup after being venue cluster manager for the Olympic Winter Games in 2002.
Of his new appointment, Stanley said: “The prospect of being involved in delivering the most prestigious men’s and women’s rugby events in Australia to help grow the sport both domestically and around the world, is very exciting.
“I look forward to collaborating with colleagues at World Rugby, Rugby Australia, and the Australian government to bring to life not just great sporting events, but outstanding events that will engage a nation, set new standards in sustainable impact, and drive rugby forwards.”
Michel Pousseau, Rugby World Cup director, commented: “With a wealth of experience in major sports event planning and project delivery, Chris Stanley is perfectly placed to drive forward the establishment of the new Rugby World Cup Australia LOC.
“Chris has an intimate knowledge of both Rugby World Cup, having consulted on every tournament since 2003, and also the events organization environment in Australia, in which he is widely regarded as a leading expert.”
Andy Marinos, chief executive at Rugby Australia, added: “Chris has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the delivery of Rugby World Cups and major global events.
“It is why our team made the call to have him involved as part of our successful bids for 2027 and 2029 in a key advisory role. From our perspective, given his experience, and the skill set required under the new delivery model, Chris is an ideal candidate as Rugby World Cup 2027 managing director.”
The LOC for the 2027 and 2029 World Cups is a collaboration between the World Rugby and Rugby Australia governing bodies and is majority owned by World Rugby’s events arm, which is responsible for delivering RWCs through to 2033.
In early February, Sir Rod Eddington was announced as the chair of the directors’ board for both the 2027 and 2029 events.
Australia was confirmed as the host for the 2027 and 2029 tournaments in May last year. It last hosted action from a men’s RWC in 2003 but has never hosted a women's edition.
This year will see the men’s RWC take place in France, between September 8 and October 28, with the next edition of the women’s tournament set to be staged in England in 2025.
At the end of January, Gill Whitehead was appointed as independent chair of the Rugby World Cup 2025 board of directors.