The Australian Rugby Union Players' Association (RUPA) "finally settled" on a new CEO to lead the organization into the "murky negotiations ahead that could shape the future of the game for years to come." After considering almost 100 applicants, RUPA appointed PRATAAL RAJ as CEO, replacing ROSS XENOS, who left to join Super Rugby side Melbourne Rebels. A corporate lawyer who has worked for the Int'l Cricket Council and the Australian Grand Prix Corp., Raj joins RUPA "at a crucial time," with World Rugby considering setting up a new global league of nations that would "dramatically change" the int'l game (Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH, 10/15). ... Super Rugby side Crusaders appointed COLIN MANSBRIDGE as its CEO. Mansbridge succeeds HAMISH RIACH, who ended a 17-year tenure with the club to take over as the head of Ashburton District in early September (STUFF, 10/15).
COACHES/MANAGERS: Slovakia national football team coach JAN KOZAK resigned on Sunday after more than five years in the job, a period during which he got his side into the European Championships for the first time. Assistant STEFAN TARKOVIC will lead the team in a friendly match against Sweden on Tuesday (REUTERS, 10/14). ... Nippon Professional Baseball League side Hanshin Tigers minor league Manager AKIHIRO YANO accepted a promotion that will "make him the top team manager." Yano will replace former teammate TOMOAKI KANEMOTO, who last week "refused to accept a contract extension to take responsibility for the team's poor results this season" (KYODO, 10/15).