Pat Whelan has been named the new chairman of the Six Nations national team rugby union tournament.
Whelan, a member of the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) Committee, on which he serves as one of the body’s Six Nations representatives, replaces Bill Beaumont, who was last month appointed the chairman of World Rugby.
Beaumont, whose tenure at the head of the sport’s global governing body officially commences on July 1, had served as Six Nations chairman since 2012 and is chairman of the Rugby Football Union (RFU), English rugby union’s governing body. The former England international stepped down from his role with the Six Nations after being appointed World Rugby chairman.
Whelan, himself a former international, becomes the first Irish Six Nations chairman since Tom Kiernan in the early 1990s. He has in the past served as a selector and manager to the Irish national team and was recently elected to the World Rugby Executive Committee.
“It is an honour to be elected as chairman of the Six Nations Council and a privilege to be involved in the running of rugby’s greatest championship,” Whelan said. “I am looking forward to continue working on the development (of) the Six Nations Championship with my colleagues on the council. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bill Beaumont for his work and dedication during his years as council member and chairman. My colleagues and I would like to wish him all the best for his term as chairman of World Rugby.”
John Jeffrey, of the Scottish Rugby Union, has been named Six Nations vice-chairman. The 2017 Six Nations tournament will take place from February 4 to March 18.