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IOC hires IRB Rugby World Cup head

The International Rugby Board (IRB)’s Rugby World Cup head Kit McConnell will join the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as sports director, ahead of rugby’s return to the Olympic fold from 2016.

Spending 10 years in his current position, McConnell has helped in the delivery of three successful Rugby World Cups. He will begin at the IOC early next year after overseeing a transitional process within the IRB’s Rugby World Cup department, which has already begun the recruitment process for a replacement.

From 2000-02, the 40-year-old was the IOC’s sport operations manager, following his planning of all sports, including relations with international federation, for the Sydney 2000 Olympics organising committee.

IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Kit has achieved much during his 10 years at the IRB. He has played a major role in helping Rugby World Cup go from strength to strength. Kit leaves with the foundations firmly in place for the success story to continue at England 2015 and Japan 2019 [World Cups].

“I would like to thank him for his enormous contribution and wish him all the very best in his new role with our friends at the IOC and look forward to working with him as we prepare for our Olympic Games return at Rio 2016.”