The Rugby Business Network Podcast

This global network was set up in 2010 with a vision of building a community that connects rugby, business and charity. Today our network has more than 38,000 members attending our events in more than 60 cities around the world, helping and inspiring each other.

Over the last seven years we have built what has now become the world’s biggest and most influential network for senior business people with a passion for rugby. It is now time that we extend this opportunity beyond our organisers and members so that the whole world can benefit from these motivational stories, experiences and advice.

We bring you The Rugby Business Network Podcast.


North and South join forces in Pro14

Guinness Pro14 Chief Executive Officer, Martin Anayi is pleased with how the newly expanded tournament has started off and speaks about how the slow start by newcomers the Cheetahs and Southern Kings from South Africa was expected.

Having the right people involved is what allowed the expansion of the pre-existing Pro12 competition to happen over a matter of months, according to Martin. He says the main challenges were getting the logistics in place for the introduction of two new teams from another continent and is still a work in progress.

Martin says there is no timeline as to when the Pro14 could expand again in the future, with the focus right now on getting the Cheetahs and Kings fully integrated into the set-up. Even though the tournament has grown in the number of teams competing, there are few games being played due to the way the competition has been structured and Martin insists that this will be in the forefront of their minds when they decide to add more teams in the years to come.

The commercial benefits and player welfare were important factors taken into consideration when expanding the Pro14, Martin says, while he also discussed his own natural progression from Managing Director to CEO with his background in Law assisting him in his role.

Martin talks about the values of Rugby that provide the perfect platform for businesses to associate themselves with the sport at all levels and believes the Pro14 competition is in an ideal situation now to offer potential new investors the opportunity to come on board and gain recognition in both the North and South hemispheres.


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“The Rugby Business Network is going from strength to strength around the world and I think that is a testament to the game itself as a value driven sport.” – Martin Anayi (Chief Executive Officer of Guinness PRO14 Rugby)

Knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em

Former Managing Director of Sportstec and revered Entrepreneur, Philip Jackson speaks about starting up this world renowned sports performance analysis company in 1999 and draws on examples of professional sports teams who achieved great success by using the analysis software on offer. Philip touches on the importance networking played during his time at Sportstec to expand the business across the globe and establishing a distribution network in 22 countries.

In 2015, Sportstec was acquired by sports video platform company, Hudl, which led to Philip leaving the company. He opens up on how Hudl took some time to come around to offering the right price to purchase the company and his reasons for bidding farewell to the business he put his heart and soul into for 16 years. Philip also discusses stepping down as Managing Director of Studiocode, which is the non-sports aspect of Sportstec, and his disappointment to see the company on the brink of shutting down, despite the potential it had to grow even bigger. Philip reveals what keeps him busy these days, as he has gone in the opposite direction from Sportstec from “high-tech to no-tech”, predominantly creating anti-aging products, as well as medications for gastro issues and ache.

Being a passionate Kiwi, Philip has a deep-rooted love for sport and Rugby in particular and highlights why businesses should look at sponsoring Rugby teams, with club level presenting many opportunities to do so. Switching off from the business world and taking time to recharge is incredibly important Philip says and he does that by playing Golf and spending quality time with his family. Philip advises companies to know their story and not just their products and services to be able to stay relevant in this rapidly expanding technological age of business.


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“I actually don’t believe that products sell themselves. I think people sell products and you have to network, you have to do exactly what The Rugby Business Network does, be in touch with the right people, not sell you product and sell yourself.” – Philip Jackson (Business Entrepreneur / Former Managing Director of Sportstec)

From a ‘dark hole’ to being on top of the world

Extreme Environment Athlete and former Wales international, Richard Parks reflects on his 13 years as a professional Rugby player and how overtime after his forced retirement, he began to think positively of his career. A severe shoulder injury in 2009 cut short Richard’s career, as he speaks about the black hole he found himself in physiologically and what pulled him out of his depression. Without a plan in place for life after Rugby, Richard explains why did not have the foundations in place and offers advice to retiring players and Rugby clubs on how they should be treating their transition when it comes.

Richard embarked on a journey of self-discovery in 2011 as he became the first person to climb the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents and stand on the three poles all in the same calendar year and set a Guinness World Record for the 737 Challenge. Learning how to mountain climb was Richard’s way of putting the ordeal from his career-ending injury behind him and talks about the values he gained as a Rugby player and implemented them in his expedition. The 737 Challenge offered a few moments that tested Richard’s resilience, which he discusses and the importance of supporting Marie Curie Cancer Care, for which over £365,000 was raised.

In 2014, Richard went back to the South Pole, where he became the fastest Briton in history to ski solo and unsupported from the coast of Antarctica to the pole and he mentions the greatest lesson he learnt from that quest, after failing his first attempt the year before. This expedition, the 737 Challenge and his Rugby career all feature in his book Beyond the Horizon and Richard says writing his book is his proudest achievement so far, in which he admits that he leaves himself vulnerable to the readers. Richard also explains how ‘Project Everest’ in 2016, with the support of the University of South Wales, used his oxygen-less ascent to collect data using hypoxia to explore the mechanisms underpinning cognitive decline with Dementia intervention being the focus. Unfortunately after 18 months of preparation, the mission up Mount Everest was called off when Richard had over-acclimatised and came dangerously close to dying.

Richard touches on what he is up to currently, which is translating the leadership lessons he learnt on his adventures and implementing that into educational programs for senior business executives and organisations, as well as acting as a board member of Sport Wales and an ambassador to the Welsh government. There is however another big adventure on the horizon in 2019, although Richard is keeping it under wraps for the time being.


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“It was the values and the skills that I developed and learnt from a career in Rugby that actually enabled all of this to happen, because as a Rugby player the integrity of my performance was paramount to not letting my teammates down. That integrity performance which came from my Rugby career transferred into climbing.” – Richard Parks (Extreme Environment Athlete / Former Wales International)

An optimistic approach to Rugby in Australia for 2018

General Manager of Community Rugby and Strategy at Rugby Australia, Andrew Larratt, is one of four guest speakers lined up for the end-of-year Sydney Rugby Business Network event to be held on November 14th, 2017. Andrew discussed his role and some of the challenges he has faced since coming on board in 2013. Having held various positions at Cricket Australia prior to joining its Rugby counterpart, Andrew mentions the similarities that exist between the two sports bodies with regards to strategic planning and general governance.

Andrew talks about the decision to sack the Western Former from Super Rugby this year and how that situation was handled by both parties, while also sharing some interesting information regarding the decision that was taken. There are a few new and exciting initiatives and projects Rugby Australia are working on to help grow the interest in the sport in the country, which Andrew explains and the positives that can be taken out of 2017, during what has been a year where the negative aspects have been largely focused on by the media and supporters.

At the Sydney Rugby Business Network event, Andrew says he will be highlighting during his speech the unifying capability Rugby has in Australia and across the world, as well as how the sport can be grown in 2018. He also speaks about the importance of having events like these to promote networking and to connect corporates and community through Rugby. Andrew admits that at international level, the corporate partners they have onboard at Rugby Australia is wonderful, although at the schools and club level there could be more assistance from sponsors to aid in the sustainable growth of Rugby in the country. 2017 has been a challenging year for Rugby Australia, however Andrew is optimistic of a significant turnaround in 2018.



Venue: The Red Room, 99 on York, 99 York St, Sydney on Tuesday 14th Nov from 5.30-7.30pm

Tickets: Cost $30 + GST:

To register: click on the link (Eventbrite has a limit of 2 signs per transaction – for multiple transaction please contact Adrian)

Dress: Business attire


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“In terms of how important The Rugby Business Network is and to have these different events, I think it is a really big enabler for people to be able to network, I think it’s about being thought leaders on connecting corporates and communities through Rugby.” – Andrew Larratt (General Manager of Community Rugby & Strategy at Rugby Australia)



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