Hong Kong is set to play a bigger role in Asian rugby after Trevor Gregory, chairman of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, was appointed president of the game’s regional governing body.
Gregory was elected to the top post at the annual general meeting of the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, this week.
Gregory, an ARFU executive committee member for six years, including four as vice-president, said: “It is a great honour for me personally and for the HKRFU to be elected by my peers in the Asian rugby family to represent Asia as president of ARFU – particularly at this most exciting time for the game in the region.”
Gregory will assume the post with immediate effect, replacing out-going Adisek Hemyoo, of Thailand, who stepped down after four years in the role.
“ARFU has trebled its membership in the past decade alone,” Gregory said. “We now have 28 members, 16 of which are full members of the International Rugby Board (IRB), while six are associate members and more nations are keen to join,” said Gregory.
The Indonesia Rugby Union and the Brunei Rugby Union are the most recent ARFU members to come on board. Four potential new members – Bangladesh, Nepal, Tajikistan and Vietnam – are in the process of applying.
“With 60 per cent of the world's population and 80 per cent of the world's youth, but less than six per cent of the world’s rugby-playing population, Asia is a region the IRB is working with closely to grow the game at every level, from grassroots through to high performance,” said Gregory.
“With the first Rugby World Cup to be held in Asia in Japan in 2019, we are committed to leveraging this platform to further catalyse growth and position ARFU as a leader in the game for both men and women.”
At the same meeting, Mike Haynes, the HKRFU’s director of youth, was elected as the new ARFU honorary treasurer, together with Singapore Rugby Union president Low Teo-ping as vice-president and Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union president Asanga Seneviratne as honorary secretary general.