Hong Kong rugby boss Trevor Gregory believes the union has found the perfect match to help implement its strategic plan of growing the game in the community.
A “privileged” and “very lucky” Australian Vernon Reid was on Thursday named as the new chief executive of the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union.
Gregory said it opted for experience in appointing the 64-year-old Reid, a former chief executive of the Western Force Super 15 franchise and the Western Australia Rugby Union.
The union was impressed by Reid’s wealth of sports management and marketing expertise spanning high-performance sport, grass-roots development and experience in facilities development and management. He has been appointed for a three-year term and will assume his duties in late November.
Gregory said: “Having just celebrated our 60th anniversary, the HKRFU and Hong Kong rugby have never been in better shape, and we look forward to continuing the strong growth. In Vern Reid, we have found the appropriate person to help us execute our strategic plan.”
It identifies several focus areas, including the need to develop more facilities to accommodate the rapid growth in rugby, raising domestic standards and creating initiatives for 15s rugby, together with maximising the Sports Institute platform for sevens, while furthering our position as an integral part of Hong Kong and enhancing the union’s community and government outreach.
“Vern’s experience as CEO of the Western Force and RugbyWA is uniquely suited to our requirements. He is particularly familiar with the challenges of simultaneously developing community, domestic and high-performance rugby. We believe he will be an invaluable asset for our continued growth,” said Gregory.
Reid said there were many parallels with rugby in Western Australia and Hong Kong – in the number of players and teams – and he hoped he could grow the game further among the locals, deliver the platform for the national team to prosper, use his experience to win over government officials, and improve ticketing at the Sevens.
“Rugby in Hong Kong has a vibrant future and it is a privilege to lead the HKRFU as it embarks on a new growth strategy and cements itself as the leading rugby nation in Asia,” Reid said.
Reid left the Western Force “on good terms” last October after a number of issues culminated in David Pocock quitting as captain. “There was a sense the organisation had lost the plot” and “when there is an elephant stampede the grass gets trampled”, Reid said.