European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), the organisers of the Heineken Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup, have announced that Michael Kearney has been appointed to its Board.
Kearney, who will represent the Irish Rugby Football Union on the Board, replaces Paul McNaughton, who has been succeeded on EPCR’s Executive Committee by Andrea Rinaldo.
Kearney was previously Ireland team manager, playing a significant role in supporting the on-field success of Ireland’s 2014 and 2015 Six Nations title wins and their first ever victory over New Zealand in November 2016. He has also held similar managerial positions with both Leinster Rugby and the Ireland Under-20s.
“I’m delighted to join the EPCR Board and I hope my experience in the professional game will help me to make a positive contribution to a dynamic and ever-changing rugby landscape,” said Kearney, whose business successes have included Snap Printing and Home Instead Senior Care.
EPCR Chairman Simon Halliday commented: “Michael’s extensive knowledge, passion and enthusiasm makes him an excellent and appropriate replacement for Paul McNaughton whose major contribution to the development of European club rugby tournaments is both valued and appreciated.”
The Board of EPCR now has the following members: Simon Halliday (Chairman), Philip Browne (IRFU), Mark Dodson (Scottish Rugby), Fabrizio Gaetaniello (FIR), Robert Howat (Scottish Rugby), Michael Kearney (IRFU), Mark McCafferty (PRL), Nigel Melville (RFU), Julie Paterson (WRU), Martyn Phillips (WRU), Andrea Rinaldo (FIR), Yann Roubert (LNR) and Serge Simon (FFR).
The Heineken Champions Cup is set to capture the attention of worldwide rugby audiences this weekend as four of the most decorated clubs in the history of the tournament, with a combined total of 13 European titles, compete in the semi-finals.
Saracens take on Munster in Coventry on Saturday, while defending champions Leinster and Toulouse go head-to-head on Sunday at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium with a place in next month’s final in Newcastle at stake. The tournament will pass an all-time aggregate of 20 million fans over the course of Easter weekend.