The Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) has appointed Elizabeth Nankivell as Vice President, the first woman to hold the role in Queensland Rugby's 139-year history.
Mrs Nankivell, or Libby as she is known, has had a long association with Rugby and was officially welcomed to the Reds Family at today's annual QRU Long Lunch.
QRU Chairman Jeff Miller said: “It is a positive focus to appoint and welcome Libby - a true community rugby representative.
“She has experience as a player, referee, manager, and a decade of board room experience. We are looking forward to the perspective and passion Libby will bring for women in Rugby in Queensland. It’s a shift, as traditionally we have chosen ex Wallaby or Reds players for this honourary role. I think this is very exciting.”
Mrs Nankivell said: “I am honoured to represent women in Rugby across Queensland.
“Women – we are found on the sidelines, on the paddock and in the middle. Through respect and acceptance, we can create great Rugby experiences for everyone at every Rugby game across the state, creating ‘Rugby for life’ experiences.”
Libby grew up on the Darling Downs in Toowoomba, attending both Downlands and Fairholme. Her love of Rugby started with her father, the late Paddy O’Brien, who was a Rugby referee and referee coach known for his time with Queensland Country Rugby, Queensland Rugby Referee Associations and Australian Rugby Union.
At university, she established Townsville women’s Rugby Union and roped in her friends to play with her – their motto was ‘go you good thing’. Many were first-time players who still have a love of the game. She also played in the women’s Rugby inaugural appearance at the 1994 University Games winning the gold medal.
Libby earned her referee qualifications in North Queensland. She refereed and played in Brisbane and across the Downs winning the Women in Sport referee/umpire of the year in 1998.
She continued her love of Rugby through volunteering as a junior club manager for her son’s team in Brisbane and is the mother of two teenage boys.
With the growth of women in sport, Libby earned a place on the Australian Schools Rugby Union and its Foundation boards to give them a positive female voice.
Libby joins fellow Vice President Garrick Morgan and President Roger Gould in the annually elected roles.