David Ross recently took up the position of Provincial Domestic Game Manager with Leinster Rugby. IrishRugby.ie caught up with him to discuss his new role.
Ross, who was appointed as Leinster's Club Development Manager in June 2004, comes from a strong commercial background with over 30 years' experience at senior management level, mostly in the Agri Trading area.
Educated at Belvedere College in Dublin, where he played schools rugby, he went on to play at club level for Old Belvedere - playing for every side in the club over a long career.
In over 30 years involvement with club rugby, Ross held the position of Director of Rugby for a number of years and was club President four years ago.
- ON HIS APPOINTMENT -
"My new role as Provincial Domestic Game Manager began in early September and it has been a very busy, enjoyable and challenging start."
- BACKGROUND TO THE POSITION -
"Following consultation by the IRFU with the Leinster Branch, prior to my appointment, it was identified that we need to create a new, clear, strong and focused role for the Branch in respect of the development of the domestic game.
"There is a need to ensure that the opportunities associated with professional rugby are maximised for the development of the domestic game. The Branch is closer to the schools, clubs, Universities/Colleges and can therefore have a more powerful influence and support role in re-vitalising the game with all our stakeholders at local level."
- ON RE/MAX'S NEW SPONSORSHIP OF LEINSTER COMPETITIONS -
"Leinster Rugby and in particular the Junior Section, which covers all areads of the province, are delighted with the RE/MAX association and sponsorship. It is a perfect fit for both sides with rugby clubs in all parts of Leinster coupled with a network of RE/MAX offices throughout Leinster as well.
"We will be in close contact with our sponsors throughout the season, building an effective partnership.
"We are also very pleased to see sponsors like RE/MAX coming on board to support the domestic game which is so important for the further development and marketing of the club game."
...A kids game in full flow at Lansdowne Road...
- ON THE WAY FORWARD/ACTION PLAN -
"As PDGM I am responsible for driving the implementation of all Domestic Rugby programmes and serivces and direct management of the Domestic Game staff.
"Key implementation will be through an Annual Domestic Game Operational Plan which will link all the key professional staff roles with the Committee structures. All clubs and schools, new or old, are equal within the meaning of the Operational Plan.
"Each section of the Domestic Game has its own individual indentity, but it is the sum of all parts of the Domestic Game that must also make the Domestic Game a much more cohesive unit in order to operate side by side with the Professional Game.
"There are now considerable resources being put into the Domestic Game by the IRFU and the Leinster Branch, but we need to get this message out there to all our stakeholders and the wider public and in particular, the press and media, what is happening in a positive sense in relation to the Domestic Game.
"I now have a professional team of about 50 involved in all areas of Leinster including Rugby and Youth Development Officers, Club Development, covering coaching, volunteers, Capital Funding, to mention just a few areas, but this gets so little coverage or attention.
"Despite many challenges facing the Domestic Game, there are huge positives out there, and there is a huge increase in the number of new players coming into the game, particularly at Mini, Youth and School level.
"The challenge, which will also be my key objective, is how we manage this increased participation into an enjoyable and competitive game played in clubs and schools that provide the best facilities possible for both players, coaches, referees and all members and thus attract an increase in volunteers without whom rugby would not exist.
"To sum it all up, we want to get our message out there, engage with all our stakeholders, create a new awareness that something positive is really happening, it is organised, communicated and marketed - and then you find more people want to be part of it."