A Rugby World Cup winner in 1991 and 1999, Eales accepted the role of Chairman of the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Players' Committee.
Inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2007, the former Wallabies captain will play a key role in linking the 660 players who will take part in Rugby World Cup 2023 with the France 2023 Organising Committee. This appointment also gives this Players' Committee an international dimension.
Seven members on the Players' Committee
Eales will be joined by six prominent figures in both French and international rugby. Former French internationals Philippe Sella and Yannick Jauzion will serve on this Players' Committee alongside Wales rugby legend Gareth Thomas and former Australia captain David Pocock, known for his strong stances on environmental issues.
As Rugby World Cup France 2023 seeks to emphasise the role of women in rugby, this Players' Committee will also feature France's Jessy Trémoulière, who was named World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Decade last December, and Iesinga Vunipola, mother of England rugby stars Mako and Billy.
Players at the heart of RWC 2023
The Players' Committee will meet several times a year to pursue a number of objectives:
- To strengthen the link between the 660 players who will play at Rugby World Cup 2023 and fans in France and around the world
- To bring together professional and amateur rugby
- To involve the players beyond the rugby pitch around France 2023’s CSR initiatives, notably through projects on sustainable development and to tackle all types of discrimination
After the historic decision to extend Rugby World Cup 2023 by one week, from 8 September to 28 October, increasing rest periods for all teams, the formation of this Players' Committee confirms Rugby World Cup France 2023’s desire to place players at the heart of the competition, in this 10th edition that falls in the 200th year of our sport.
France 2023 CEO Claude Atcher said: "It is through their dedication on the field and their commitments off the field that our players are modern heroes, examples for future generations. The Players' Committee will ensure the precious link with supporters and the amateur rugby world. It will make the 660 rugby players involved in the competition major contributors to the positive legacy which Rugby World Cup France 2023 will leave behind.
"I would like to thank Chairman John Eales and the six representatives involved in this project. In France and internationally, our priority remains the same: putting our players at the heart of the matter."
Players' Committee Chairman Eales said: “Rugby is more than just a sport, it is a community and it’s a way of being. It does not just create players; it shapes young men and women. The Players' Committee will be there for the fans and for the players so that rugby can continue to play an integral part in inspiring the future and building the social link that is so vital to our society and for our individual well-being. We look forward to seeing you at Rugby World Cup France 2023."