Raelene Castle plays down description as groundbreaker

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Raelene Castle is excited by the challenge of turning around rugby's fortunes in Australia, but doesn't believe her appointment as Rugby Australia chief executive is a ground-breaking moment for women in sports administration.

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".

She also becomes the first woman to be named as the boss of any of Australia's four major football codes.

Castle replaces Bill Pulver, who said in August that he was stepping down as soon as a replacement could be found, and she faces a tough task trying to unify a sport that was riven by infighting and off-field controversy this year.

Former Wallabies captain Phil Kearns had been widely tipped to take over rugby's top job before reports that Ms Castle had clinched the role surfaced.

Australian Super Rugby sides lost all 26 matches against New Zealand opposition this year which has led to a decline in fan interest that is believed to have been carried through to the national team. "My experience in rugby league was very strong; I don't expect my experience in rugby union to be any different".

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"It genuinely is an exciting sport that has an global landscape that no other sport in Australia has".

Castle said she was "honoured" to have been offered the position. "I have known Raelene for a number of years, and have a huge regard for her".

"[The Bulldogs] really helped me understand the Australian sporting landscape". The [player] depth issue I think will change now with going to four teams, so that means we will have four teams that are more competitive.

"This will make the Buildcorp Wallaroos a significantly stronger outfit moving forward".

"Raelene is an extremely impressive executive who covered every base as far as what the board was looking for in a chief executive officer to lead our game into an important new chapter", Clyne said of the widely-expected appointment.

Clyne said Castle would bring "a fresh set of eyes to the challenges and opportunities at Rugby Australia".

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