Press Releases.

Press Releases May 2019/20

Rugby partnership to help veterans transition from service

Rugby is set to be promoted as a vehicle to help veterans transition from the defence forces, through a partnership between Rugby 1st and Veteran Sport Australia.

The values and mateship in rugby are seen as a close fit for the ideals and beliefs defence force personnel practice throughout their careers and miss as they transition out of the service and into civilian life.

Given that, Rugby 1st – a “not-for-profit business activation community created for the betterment of rugby – is aiming to introduce at least 100 veterans to the sport over the next 12 months with the help of Veteran Sport Australia, connecting them to local clubs in a move seen as beneficial to both parties.

The program was launched on Friday morning at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park. READ THE FULL ARTICLE

22 May 2019


Australia’s newest sporting business community, Rugby 1st, has announced the formalisation of their partnership to support Richard Tombs and the Guns Out Spinal Foundation as their primary Partner for Purpose for the next 12 months.

“We’ve thought long and hard about how we could best make a difference and how we could do that beyond just a financial contribution to Tombsy and the Guns Out Spinal Foundation.” Said Adrian ‘Moose’ Skeggs, CEO of Rugby 1st. “He has an inspiring story of courage and commitment and we believe his message deserves to be heard not just within, but beyond, the Rugby community.”

Richard Tombs is a former NSW Waratah and Queensland Red centre and played more than 300 first class games of Rugby, including 5 Tests for the Wallabies and 3 years with Gloucester in the UK, without being seriously hurt. Then in 2018 a tragic accident whilst competing in a soccer match resulted in a devastating spinal injury for which he requires ongoing treatment and continuous rehabilitation.

“I’m excited to take up the invitation to be supported by Rugby 1st,” said Richard Tombs, “It’s a resounding ‘yes’ from the Guns Out committee! This opportunity is shaping up to be way more than I could have imagined and I’m really looking forward to working with the team”.

Rugby 1st will be supporting Richard and Guns Out Spinal Foundation via a direct donation of 10% of all membership fees, plus paid speaking and appearances at events and are working to create new opportunities for Tombsy within the Australian business community.

“Watch this space!” said Rugby 1st Co-Founder Alexandra Lyus, “While we have some specific engagements already planned for Richard in the rugby event space, I am really looking forward to working with him on delivering his message to a wider corporate audience.”

Richard Tombs has already been engaged by The Corporate Game Plan, which supports Rugby 1st and will speak at ‘Changing The Game – Celebrating Women in Sport & Business’ on 19 July in Sydney and accompany the Rugby 1st team to the first location in their planned NSW Regional Roadshow in Armidale later in the year to speak at the associated business event.

Richard Tombs has a major fundraising event in Sydney on 21 June which has sold out. They are still looking for auction items – if you can help, please contact:
You can follow Tombsy’s journey on Facebook #Guns Out For Tombsy.

7 May 2019


“We’re delighted to announce we are naming rights sponsors for the NSW Junior Girls State Championships and sleeve sponsors for NSW Juniors teams”, said Alexandra Lyus, Co-Founder of Rugby 1st, “This grassroots support is exactly how Rugby 1st wants to make a difference and we’re particularly thrilled at the opportunity to support junior players and girls.”

The “2019 Rugby 1st NSWJRU Girls State Championships” will be held on the long weekend in June at Boronia Park, Hunters Hill. Whilst Rugby 1st will also appear on the sleeve of the NSW Juniors Rep teams which will include the NSWJRU Under 18 teams I & II as well as the NSWJRU U16 Presidents XV. These teams will be competing in a number of fixtures including the Regionals and culminating in a tour to Perth to play the Western Force U18.

“We’re looking forward to working with the team at Rugby 1st and are really thankful for their support. Hopefully this is the start of a long relationship between their team and NSWJRU”, said Ben Gregory, President, NSW Junior Rugby Union.

Upon hearing the news of Rugby 1st being a dedicated sponsor of the 2019 Girls State Championship, NSWRU Board member and advocate of the women’s game, Kerry Chikarovski said “I am absolutely delighted that women’s and girls rugby is getting the recognition it deserves.

Watching women and girls play rugby you can’t help but admire how skilled and passionate they are. I look forward to the continued development of girls and women’s rugby, the fastest growing female sport in the world.”

Contact: President, NSW Junior Rugby
Ben Gregory /

3 May 2019


Australia’s newest sporting business community, Rugby 1st, has announced the formalisation of their partnership with Veteran Sport Australia, an initiative of RSL NSW, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Friday 3 May.

The VSA has been established to support veterans and their families improve their health and wellbeing through participation in sport and recreation. Acting as a central hub, VSA will connect veterans and their families with opportunities that are right for them.

All parties are excited that the cementing of this partnership will pave the way for veterans to be channelled to selected Rugby Clubs where they can take part in any aspect of the game, including playing, coaching, administration or support.

“We’re delighted to be working with Rugby 1st to encourage more veterans and their families to get involved in the sport of Rugby.” said Michael Hartung, General Manager of Veteran Sport Australia, “We know the value of sport in assisting veterans when transitioning to civilian life and the passion that exists within the Defence Fore for the sport of Rugby. The Rugby 1st programs and initiatives will make it easy for veterans to connect with Rugby Clubs who are equally keen
to see more veterans involved in their sport.”

“This is a great day for veterans who are Rugby lovers,” said Rod Stewart, Liaison for RSL NSW, “it allows them to follow their sport in the way they want and however they are capable of participating. Importantly, it also provides a social outlet that is vital for vets newly transitioned from service.”

Contact: General Manager, Veteran Sport Australia
Michael Hartung
Contact: Liaison, RSL NSW
Rod Stewart

May 2019


“Rugby 1st is a non-profit business activation community facilitating connections between Australia’s top corporates, brands, executives and influencers.One of our core missions is to encourage and celebrate the application of Rugby’s unique values – tribalism, teamwork, passion and trusted networks – into the practice of business” said ex-Wallaby, CEO and Co-Founder of Rugby 1st, Adrian “Moose” Skeggs.

Rugby 1st is a new-comer to the not-for-profit landscape supporting Rugby in Australia, but the Co-Founders have ambitious plans and a strong belief in their ability to make a difference, “At our core, we are a business community delivering significant opportunities for our Rugby-loving members to achieve better results for their brands and companies via new and targeted relationships. And by getting that right we can deliver back to Rugby.

The three Rugby 1st Co-Founders have set an ambitious roadmap for their first year and have already kicked some impressive goals including, supporting the Hearts In Union Golf Day as a sponsor and signing an agreement with Veteran Sport Australia to create a Rugby Club program for veterans. They have also confirmed their support of NSW Junior Rugby Union as the naming rights sponsor of the 2019 Rugby 1st NSWJRU Girls State Championship and are also a sleeve sponsor of the NSW Junior Rep Teams, including the NSWJRU Under 18 teams I & II as well as the NSWJRU U16 Presidents XV.

Contact: Rugby 1st Co-Founders
Alexandra Lyus &Angus Stewart