Elizabeth Radcliffe elected President of Rugby Victoria

Wed, Mar 20, 2024, 3:40 AM
Rugby Vic Media
by Rugby Vic Media

The first female to be elected to the role, Elizabeth Radcliffe takes the reigns as the 14th Post-War President of Rugby Victoria following the 2024 Rugby Victoria Annual General Meeting.  

Succeeding former President Neil Hay, Radcliffe becomes President having previously held the role of Vice-President since 2020. 

Commencing her rugby journey as a player in the early 1990s across the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong, Elizabeth, or ‘Liz’ as she is known throughout the community, was a founding member of Victoria’s Women’s Rugby Development Association (WRDA) in 1997 – initially set-up as a committee to facilitate communication between the Victorian Rugby Union and new women’s teams.  

Serving on the Rugby Victoria Board since 2017, in her new role as President Radcliffe brings over 20 years of senior leadership experience in the Victorian Government across environment protection, mining and emergency management. 

Radcliffe currently serves as Director of a Renewable Energy company deploying wind energy generation technology as a replacement to retiring coal-fired power stations in Latrobe Valley.   

“I have been fortunate to play in numerous countries when moving around early in my career and the ‘instant family’ you get when walking into a rugby club in a foreign country that everyone talks about is very real,” she said.   

“The camaraderie and the shared values are important - and as a pretty ordinary athlete, when judged by the standards required in the sports I played as a child - rugby gave me a place I could belong and where I could excel, even though I only took up playing the sport in my 20s.” 

Becoming the first female President since Victorian Rugby Union’s inception in 1888, Radcliffe said it demonstrates how far we have come as a code since first lacing up the boots 30 years ago.  

“The place that exists for everyone in our game is one of the things that is very important to me – very few people know or care what my day job is – we all just have rugby in common.  And as frustrating as the little details of the laws can be, that is also the beauty of the sport. 

“While I cannot play very often (I do play in the occasional Masters game when I can find enough other ‘very senior’ women willing to have a run), the opportunity to serve on the Board gives me the chance to remain connected to the game and ensure the opportunity to play exists for future generations.” 

Radcliffe enters the role of President at a period of crossroads for Rugby in Australia, acknowledging the challenges that lie ahead, yet confident the Union can band together to set a standard moving forward.  

“It was a difficult decision to agree to stand as President. To be honest it would be far easier to sit in the stands and offer social media commentary on what needs to be done to ‘fix’ rugby in Australia, but a lot of those seats are already taken. 

“For 2024, I am keen that as a Board we shake off the last vestiges of the COVID hangover and deliver a solid season of community rugby.  

“We need to continue to support our clubs to grow, be financially stable, improve the standard of rugby played at club level so we can continue to offer professional pathways for those who wish to pursue them and do more to bridge the gap in the pathways for our women and girls.   

“To achieve this we need to develop a more strategic approach to our work, and I will be sitting down with the Board over coming weeks to work through what this looks like.   

“Personally, there are several key relationships with our sponsors and partner organisations including the Victorian Government, who continue to be an incredible supporter of rugby, that I need to pick up and run with (just as well I’m a forward!).” 

Acting Rugby Victoria CEO Anthony Wright said he is looking forward to working with Liz to deliver a successful season of community rugby. 

“Liz is motivated to serve in a manner for the betterment of Victorian Rugby - through promoting inclusivity, improving our governance, and working with all stakeholders to achieve growth in our game,” he said. 

Rugby Victoria congratulates Liz on her election to the role of President and thanks Neil Hay for his service to the game of Victorian Rugby.


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