IRAA launches in Australia

Published
Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The International Rugby Academy Australian launched last Friday in Sydney. Hosted by Nick McArdle and with a plethora of Wallaby and Rugby greats including Nick Farr-Jones, Michael Lynagh, John Eales, Phil Kearns, Emily Chancellor, Matt Burke, Andrew Mehrtens and Murray Mexted himself to name a few. It was a very impressive presentation of what will hopefully be one of the pillars of future rugby success for our coaches and players alike.

NSW Juniors had the opportunity to attend and the future looks bright. Below is a summary from John Papahatzis whom is the General Manager of IRAA and also the President of NSW Schools Rugby Union. More details at https://iraa.com.au/

The International Rugby Academy of Australia (IRAA) is a new, independent, not- for-profit rugby academy. IRAA brings to Australia the hugely successful International Rugby Academy model established in New Zealand, by All Black great, Murray Mexted.

Our fundamental aim at IRAA is to maximise the potential of young Australian rugby talent and to strengthen the pathways and opportunities that are unique to the game of rugby union.

Before my involvement with IRAA, I was fortunate enough to participate on the IRANZ coaches course in Palmerston North in 2016. It was an amazing learning experience as a coach, even after many years being involved in the game. When the opportunity arose to be involved in the Australian model, it was an easy decision.

On Friday, IRAA held it’s launch event at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth. It was great to see so much support from the wider rugby community, current and former Wallabies, all eager to lend their time and skills to ensure IRAA’s success.

IRAA Launch Event
Wallaroo’s star Emily Chancellor with Wallaby legends Michael Lynagh (IRAA Patron), Nick Farr-Jones & John Eales at the IRAA Launch Event

I want to take this opportunity to thank Michael Lynagh, IRAA Patron, for travelling from the UK to make the event. His involvement and support in the program is invaluable.

Also, thank you to Murray Mexted, Managing Director of IRANZ, for travelling from NZ to speak and provide insight into the courses and processes that have made IRANZ so successful. The honour board list that IRANZ boasts is incredible and testament to Murray and his team.

IRAA Launch Event
David Mortimer AO (IRAA)Nick McArdle (Fox Sports) Anthony Lazzoppina (Investec) Murray Mexted (IRANZ) &

As I mentioned earlier, IRAA is a not-for-profit organisation and would not exist without the financial backing of our board members and our wonderful sponsors. Investec, who are our major sponsor, Fox Sports, Accor, Sydney Olympic Park and Buildcorp, all have a rich history of involvement and support of rugby in Australia.

Our courses will commence in January 2020 at the world-class facilities of Sydney Olympic Park with players accommodated at Accor hotels. Our player courses are designed for young men aged 11-12, 13-15 and 16-18 years, and for young women aged 16-18 years. Our coaching courses are designed for coaches of players aged 13-15 years and for players aged 16-18 years.

Sydney Olympic Park facilities used for IRAA courses

Yours in rugby,
John Papahatzis
General Manager – IRAA