Historic move as QRU appoints first female Vice President

Photo: Brendan Hertel/QRU

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History has been made today with the announcement that the Queensland Rugby Union has appointed Elizabeth ‘Libby’ Nankivell as Vice President, the first woman to hold the position in 139 years of the state’s governing rugby body.

“It is a positive focus to appoint and welcome Libby – a true community rugby representative,” said QRU Chairman Jeff Miller. “She has experience as a player, referee, manager, and a decade of board room experience. We are looking forward to the perspective and passion Libby will bring for women in rugby in Queensland. It’s a shift, as traditionally we have chosen ex-Wallaby or Reds players for this honorary role. I think this is very exciting.”

Acquiring her love of the game from her late father Paddy O’Brien, who was a referee and referee coach who worked with Queensland Country Rugby, Queensland Rugby Referee Associations and Australian Rugby Union, Libby established Townsville women’s Rugby Union whilst at University. She also won a gold medal at the 1994 University Games – the first appearance of women’s rugby at the event, and followed in her father’s footsteps by becoming a referee and winning the Women in Sport referee/umpire of the year in 1998.

She was officially welcomed to the Reds Family at today’s annual QRU Long Lunch, and spoke of her honour at the opportunity to represent women in rugby across Queensland.

“Women – we are found on the sidelines, on the paddock and in the middle. Through respect and acceptance, we can create great rugby experiences for everyone at every rugby game across the state, creating ‘Rugby for life’ experiences.”

Libby will join fellow Vice President Garrick Morgan and President Roger Gould in the annually elected roles.

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