Rugby Southland Go Back to the Future with new GM

Samoan Rugby Union chief Brian Hopley is returning to Invercargill as Rugby Southland’s new general manager.

Hopley – who held the Southland role from 2011 to 2015 – will replace Andrew Moreton, who took over from Hopley in 2015.

Rugby Southland board chairman Jason Franklin announced the appointment on Tuesday.

“The Rugby Southland Board is delighted to appoint Brian to the role and welcome him back”, Franklin said.

Hopley was appointed to the Samoan role by World Rugby in conjunction with Samoa Rugby Union.

“Brian has gained a wealth of experience in the international game since leaving Rugby Southland in 2015,” Franklin said.

“This experience confirms to us that Brian is a top sports administrator and held in high regard in the international game.

“We look forward to Brian rejoining us and the extensive experience he brings, to build upon the solid foundation now in place.”

Franklin paid tribute to Moreton for “his significant contribution to Rugby Southland. Andrew will be working with Brian over the coming weeks to ensure a seamless transition”.

Hopley said he was looking forward to” re-establishing a great working relationship with the network of people I had the privilege of working with during my 2011 -2015 time as GM”.

” I am very grateful to again have this opportunity – one must never become complacent – the sport of rugby is dynamic and at times can be fickle.

“I am still keen to establish a higher benchmark for all to aspire and achieve at every level of rugby from schools, community, clubs and Stags.”

One of Hopley’s key tasks will be to raise more revenue.

Moreton told Stuff this month that the Stags needed another $250,000 per year to be competitive in the Mitre 10 Cup after finishing bottom last year following a winless season.

Hopley will be joining new Stags coach Dave Hewett – the ex-All Blacks prop – at Rugby Southland.

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