The Rugby Players Association (RPA) today announced that Judith Batchelar OBE has been appointed as the new Chair of the RPA Management Board.

Judith, who has been on the management board since January 2019 as a Non-Executive Director, has already been an instrumental figurehead for the RPA and has played a pivotal role across key discussions in the last two and a half years. 

With over 35 years experience in the food and drink industry, with nearly half of that time spent at Sainsbury’s, as Director of Sainsbury’s Brand, and more recently Corporate Responsibility, Sustainability and Public Affairs, Judith has a wealth of knowledge and insight to bring to the position. She will focus her efforts in bringing a fresh steer and positive outlook to the board going forward, to ensure the game of rugby continues to succeed and flourish in these times of immense change.

On her appointment, Judith said: “I am looking forward to taking on the role of Chair at the Rugby Players Association at such an important time for everyone involved in the game. As a Non-Executive Director at the RPA, I have witnessed first-hand the challenges of the last eighteen months. I know there is still much to do but I am committed to working with my Board colleagues and our members who place their trust in us, to ensure that rugby and the players who make it what it is, thrive, both today and in the years to come. This is both a privilege and a responsibility that I am pleased to accept."

RPA Group CEO, Damian Hopley MBE, said: “This is a landmark day for the RPA and for rugby in England. Judith has been a fantastic supporter of the players and the game over the years, and it is a tremendous honour for us that she has accepted the opportunity to chair the RPA Management Board. Her outstanding passion and her strategic expertise will benefit the RPA and our members significantly over the coming years and we are all very excited to continue the progress and security the RPA has made over the last two decades.”

Ethan Waller, RPA Chairman, also commented: “A massive congratulations to Judith on becoming the new management board head. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Judith throughout my time as Chairman and I’m massively excited about continuing that going forward.”

When Judith leaves Sainsbury’s in November, in addition to her position at the RPA, she will also continue to spend time as a Non-Executive Director at the Environment Agency, and pursue her work as a Trustee of The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, The Princes Accounting for Sustainability Project, and The Matt Hampson Foundation.