Australia's influence at the International Rugby Board has been further bolstered by the appointment of former World Cup winning Sevens captain Cheryl Soon to one of the governing body's most important committees.
At the helm of the Australian Women's team when it won the Rugby World Cup Sevens title in 2009, Soon has today been appointed to the IRB's Rugby Committee.
Soon, who has been a prominent force in Women's Rugby on and off the field, will join the Committee which comprises leading representatives from the playing, coaching and refereeing fraternities.
The IRB Rugby Committee recommends policy on critical areas of playing the Game such as player welfare, the Laws, playing trends and coaching techniques.
Soon becomes the third Australian to be elevated to a key position within the IRB structure.
ARU Managing Director and CEO, John O'Neill AO, was elected recently to the role as Chairman of the IRB Regulations Committee.
ARU Chairman Michael Hawker is also a member of the key decision-making body, the IRB Executive Committee.
Mr O'Neill today congratulated Soon on her appointment and said it was recognition for her hard work and dedication to Rugby over a number of years.
"On the field Cheryl led from the front with passion and commitment, since retiring she has used those leadership skills and passion for the game to help promote and grow women's Rugby," Mr O'Neill said.
"She was a prominent force in Rugby's successful bid to be included in the Olympic Games program - making a wonderful address to the IOC Assembly on behalf of Rugby Sevens - and has for a long time been a role model to younger players coming through the ranks.
"Cheryl's appointment to the Rugby Committee is thoroughly deserved and is just recognition for her hard work.
"I sincerely congratulate Cheryl on the appointment and hope that it inspires other women to take on leadership roles in other areas of Rugby and the community."
The appointment follows ARU's announcement of a new partnership with UN Women Australia that will focus on supporting women in leadership and sport.
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