By Pete Fairbairn, 10.02.17

NSW Waratahs lock and Wallaby No. 823, Dean Mumm has been elected by his peers as the eighth President of The Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA). Mumm takes the reigns from the retired Benn Robinson as one of a number of changes following the conclusion of RUPA’s 2017 Board elections.

Mumm, who has played over 100 Super Rugby matches for the Waratahs and has made 57 Test appearances for Australia since his 2008 debut, follows in the footsteps of immediate predecessor Robinson (2014-2016), Adam Wallace-Harrison (2013), Adam Freier (2010-2012), Rod Kafer (2000-2001 & 2006-2010), Justin Harrison (2004-2005), Daniel Herbert (2002-2003) and Tony Dempsey (1996-2000) in being elected as President.

Away from Rugby, Mumm has completed both a Masters of Commerce and Bachelor of Business. In 2015 he led the Wallabies against Uruguay at the Rugby World Cup, becoming Australia’s 84th Test Captain in the process.

In a further boost to RUPA’s leadership, Bruce Hodgkinson SC has been re-elected as Chairman for a further three years, having served in the role since late 2010. It’s another honour for Hodgkinson, who was also recently appointed as an arbitrator of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Outgoing President Benn Robinson, a provincial and international teammate of Mumm’s for over a decade, believes that all professional players in Australia will benefit from this appointment.

“Dean is an outstanding appointment as President of RUPA and I couldn’t be happier to leave the organisation in his intelligent, experienced and respected hands,” Robinson said.

“Dean’s career, which includes a stint in the United Kingdom as part of thirteen years as a professional player, has given him a great understanding of the game as a business and as a passion, and all professional players will no doubt benefit from his perspective and leadership.”

Robinson, who retired midway through the 2016 season, was heavily involved in RUPA’s efforts to agree a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) throughout 2016 and expects Mumm to take on a similarly active stance in representing fellow players.

“I was pleased to invest my time in recent years to advance the interests of the players and the game. Dean will similarly be called upon to be the champion of the players and it’s a position in which I firmly believe he will thrive.”
Robinson also paid tribute to Hodgkinson, a highly-respected negotiator and leader.

“I have personally benefitted from Bruce’s mentorship, his bank of knowledge and his determination to ensure that Australia’s professional Rugby players are treated as a valued stakeholder by the Unions. It is a significant boost for RUPA to have Bruce extending his tenure.”

Mumm said he was honoured to have been elected by his peers.

“As today’s professional Rugby players, we are well aware of our obligations to help foster a better Australian Rugby for all stakeholders, and to leave behind that legacy for the next generation,” Mumm said.

“The game currently has a number of challenges that need to be confronted in 2017, and I look forward to getting involved in constructive discussions on how Rugby can do more than survive, but thrive within the Australian sports marketplace. I’m also really motivated to ensure that the high performance environment, and the experience of being a professional player in Australia, are the best in the world and that players want to stay in Australian Rugby for those very reasons.”

In addition to Mumm’s appointment as RUPA President and Hodgkinson’s re-election, several other positions on the RUPA Board were open for election. Those elections are concluded, with Matt Hodgson (Force) and Scott Sio (Brumbies) chosen by their teammates to fill the Player Director positions at their respective teams.

Following the retirement of Gemma Etheridge OAM from the Australian Women’s Rugby Sevens team at the conclusion of their gold-medal winning Olympic Games campaign in Rio, Shannon Parry OAM vacates her previous position on the Board as a Co-Opted Director, to take on the position of Women’s Rugby Sevens Player Director.

Parry’s shift in roles leaves one Co-Opted Board Director position vacant, with Wallaby Captain Stephen Moore to be ratified in this position at the next RUPA Board Meeting in February. Moore has served on the RUPA Board on two separate occasions as the Brumbies Player Director, for a total of eight years’ service, prior to his move to the Reds.

The full 13-person RUPA Board is:
Chairman: Bruce Hodgkinson SC
President: Dean Mumm
Player Director – Brumbies: Scott Sio
Player Director – Force: Matt Hodgson
Player Director – Rebels: Tom English
Player Director – Reds: James Slipper
Player Director – Waratahs: Bernard Foley
Sevens Director, Men’s: Ed Jenkins
Sevens Director, Women’s: Shannon Parry OAM
Co-Opted Director: Sally Fielke
Co-Opted Director: Adam Wallace-Harrison
Co-Opted Director: To be ratified
Chief Executive Officer: Ross Xenos