Staff photo

Who we are

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.

Our Vision

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.

Our Executive Team

NZR is made up of seven teams: Professional Rugby and Performance, Community Rugby, Commercial, Technology, People, Safety and Wellbeing, Corporate Services 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

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

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.


 Richard Gilhooly

GM People, Safety & Wellbeing

Richard Gilhooly joined NZR in 2014 as Head of People and Capability, with the role growing in 2020 to include workplace safety and wellbeing portfolios. Prior to NZR, Richard held multiple HR leadership roles in the infrastructure and agricultural sectors. He brings a wealth of experience in change management and is responsible for maintaining and developing workplace culture and behaviour. Most recentlyRichard has focused on the leadership role rugby plays in New Zealand society and ensuring the sport is welcoming and inclusive for all involved. 


 Steve Lancaster

GM Community Rugby

Steve Lancaster has led Community Rugby in New Zealand since 2016. Steve is responsible for managing the relationships between NZR and Provincial Unions to improve experiences and opportunities for all participants. Under his leadership, NZR has introduced significant developments to the domestic game, most recently through Game On and Rip Rugby. The former Crusaders lock has been involved in sports administration for over 20 years, including High Performance roles at NZR, Crusaders, Rugby Canada and Netball New Zealand.   


 Chris Lendrum

GM Professional Rugby & Performance

Chris Lendrum brings a wealth of experience to the Professional Rugby and Performance portfolio, having held numerous roles within NZR since 2009 as well as RSO governance experience. Chris holds a Bachelors of Law (Honours) and Arts.  He has led multiple successful individual and Collective Employment Agreement (CEA) renegotiations over many years.  Chris is responsible for managing key professional rugby stakeholder relationships including NZRPA, professional players and staff and Super Rugby Clubs, as well as overall leadership for NZR’s national team programmes and professional rugby competitions.


 Angela Nash

Chief Information Officer (CIO)

Angela Nash is a career IT Professional with broad experience in both the public and private sector in such companies as IBM, Datacom, Spark & REANNZ. She is responsible for NZR’s full breadth of information & technology with a particular focus on innovation and enablement (fans & players). Angela holds a number of directorships such as Parafed Auckland, STRmix (ESR), CIO Panel Auckland University Business School and is on the funding panel for InternetNZ. She also mentors several tech startups one of which pioneered 3D printing prosthetics for cancer survivors.


 Nicki Nicol

Chief Transformation Officer (CTO)
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Nicki Nicol joined NZR in 2017 after several senior Executive roles at BP in NZ, Australia and the UK. She started as the CFO, with that role growing to have a wider organisational focus as COO. Following organisational change in 2020, Nicki took on a new role with NZ Rugby to lead the co-ordination of the rebuild of Rugby, post Covid-19, as rugby seeks to transform itself, to ensure it remains relevant to fans and members alike.


Darren Shand

All Blacks Manager

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.



Richard Thomas 

Chief Commercial Officer (CCO)

Richard Thomas leads New Zealand Rugby's Commercial, Partnerships and New Partnerships, Broadcasting and Content, Customer and Communications 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 NZR’s Auckland office.