New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is one of New Zealand's largest sports organisations, with a team committed to ensuring that our national game is run smoothly and effectively at all levels, all over New Zealand.
Inspiring and Unifying through rugby.
It’s our goal to be a world-leading sports organisation, helping all of rugby to be the best it can be.
We lead, support, grow and promote New Zealand's game, striving for rugby teams in black that are unrivalled, a high-performance system that produces the world’s best talent, competitions that fans love, and a community game at the heart of the sport that is strong.
We are committed to New Zealand rugby being financially secure, attracting top partners and contributing actively to the global game.
NZR is made up of four teams: Rugby, Organisation, Commercial and All Blacks and is headed by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who is supported by an Executive Team (known as ‘The Exec’), Leadership Team and other management.
The Exec, as people leaders, are responsible for the day to day running of NZR, while the CEO is ultimately responsible for ensuring that NZR’s strategy is implemented and that the organisation achieves its objectives. The CEO and Exec work closely with the NZR Board and provide a link between staff and the Board.
Mark Robinson took up the role of CEO in January 2020. Prior to this he served on the NZR Board for seven years and was NZR’s delegate to World Rugby. During a rugby career that spanned the amateur and professional era, Mark played nine Tests for the All Blacks between 2000-2002 and also played in the United Kingdom and Japan. Mark was CEO of Taranaki Rugby from 2007-2012 and has worked in consultancy in the areas of education, environment, energy and agriculture. He holds degrees from the universities of Victoria (Wellington) and Cambridge.
Nicki Nicol joined NZR in 2017 after several senior Executive roles at BP in NZ, Australia and the UK. She started as the CFO and that role has now grown to have a wider organisational focus as COO. Nicki is also responsible for leading the implementation of the Respect & Responsibility Review completed in 2017, a major cultural change programme, aiming to transform Rugby in NZ into a more welcoming and safer place. With a strong financial background as a qualified Chartered Accountant, Nicki also has extensive experience creating commercial value across strategic, sales and marketing portfolios.
Nigel Cass has been involved with rugby for a significant period, first as a senior staff member of New Zealand Rugby from 2001 to 2007 - including the chairmanship of the Wellington International Sevens - and then as General Manager Tournament Services for Rugby New Zealand 2011 until early 2012. Nigel rejoined New Zealand Rugby as General Manager Strategic Relationships and Planning in May 2012 and was appointed to the role of Chief Rugby Officer in April 2018.
Richard Thomas leads New Zealand Rugby's Commercial, Marketing, Broadcasting, Digital and Technology portfolios. Richard joined NZR at the beginning of 2019, having spent the last four years as Chief Operating Officer for Villa Maria Wines (New Zealand’s Most Awarded and Most Admired Wine Brand). Prior to that he enjoyed a career in Marketing and Advertising across Asia, USA, UK and of course New Zealand. Richard is based in New Zealand Rugby’s Auckland office.
Darren Shand came into the role of All Blacks Manager in 2004 after four years with the Crusaders. He now works alongside Gilbert Enoka in managing the team, with a speciﬁc focus on business and operations. He served as manager of the Canterbury Air New Zealand NPC side from 1999-2003 and also managed New Zealand A during their tour of France, Wales and Romania in 2000.
Susan Tomlinson joined New Zealand in February 2019 after two years as the Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff in the Leader of the Opposition’s Office in parliament. Susan is an experienced Executive Assistant having served in the Prime Minister’s office from 2008 to 2017. Most of that time she was EA to the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, but also spent two and half years as Sir John Key’s personal Executive Assistant.