Board and Staff
Board of Directors
President (Cat D Rep)
Miguel started playing rugby at the French Lycee in Mexico city when he was 12 and went on to play Junior Rugby (Centre) and championship with the French Lycee. He later founded the Wallabies Rugby Club in Mexico 1979 and won the Senior National Champions 3rd year in 1981. The Club still exists and has had 9 championships. Miguel also played on the Mexico National Men’s Team and later was a cofounder of Black Thunder Rugby Club with his son Miguelito and their friends.
- Vice President of the Mexican Rugby Union, 1997-1999
- President of the Mexican Rugby Union, 1999
- Founder of the Mexican Rugby Federation, 2003
- President of the Mexican Rugby Federation, 2003 – 2011
- Served on the Executive Committees of NAWIRA and NACRA
- Founder of the Pan American Rugby Association, 1998
- Secretary General of the Pan American Rugby Association
- Treasurer of the Association of Pan American Sports Confederation (ACODEPA) since 2015
Vice President (Rugby Canada)
Rick’s interest in rugby started at an early age and has never wavered. As the current Rugby America’s North (RAN) rep for Canada, he is very keen on youth development in the RAN Region. Prior to serving with RAN, Rick served as Chairman for Rugby Canada for 2 terms (4 years) from 2007 – 2012.
Rick has always been involved in rugby either as a player, administrator or a coach. Rick’s playing career started at the age of 12 with the Athlone School, and also included Shawnigan Lake School, University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, the British Columbia Representative Team, Vancouver Representative Team, Canadian National Rugby Squad (Long List) and the University of British Columbia Old Boys Ravens.
He has put his University Teaching degree to use by coaching at many different levels, including taking Canadian U13, U14 and U15 on tour twice to Bermuda. He has served 3 terms as President for the UBC Old Boys Rugby Club, 7 terms as Vice-President and is currently Treasurer for the Club. Rick is dedicated to paving a steady future for rugby by combining his knowledge of both sport and business. He has supported rugby through club foundations and various sponsorships and is a true ambassador for the sport. Rick is most excited now that his 12 year old daughter and 15 year old son are super keen and passionate about the sport of rugby and Rick spends many fun hours taking them to games and practices.
(Cat C Rep)
Dennis is the former President of Rugby Americas North. He served in the position from August 2013 to August 2017. Formerly the Head Coach of the Bermuda National team and President of the Bermuda Rugby Football Union, Dennis has also had a long career as a referee and for over a decade was ranked as the most senior referee in the West Indies. He’s held the whistle for over 25 internationals, including four Caribbean Championship Finals. He also served as President and Chairman of the West Indies and Bermuda Referee Societies respectively, as well as a World Rugby referee assessor, citing officer and judicial officer.
Secretary (Cat C Rep)
George got his start in Rugby during a stint at the International School of Kuala Lumpur, where he was accompanying his father on his one year sabbatical. Upon returning to Barbados in 1984, George restarted rugby at Harrison College and at age 17 was invited to National training. Thus began a Rugby career that would span 22 years as a player and 14 years as a referee. George captained Barbados in the 1999 RWC Qualifier against Bermuda in 1997 and played rugby until 2006. George served as President of the Barbados Rugby Football Union between 2008-2014, and was elected to the Executive Committee of NAWIRA (subsequently NACRA and now Rugby America’s North (RAN) in 2008. George has served on the regional Executive Committee for 8 consecutive years.
Rugby Americas Chief Executive Officer
Dan Payne is the current Chief Executive Officer for Rugby Americas, a region comprised of Rugby Americas North and Sudamerica Rugby.
Payne was born in Victor, New York and became an NCAA Division 1 All-American wrestler in college, later earning a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. Following time wrestling internationally, Payne began his rugby playing career with Old Blue of New York before moving to San Diego, CA and joining Old Mission Beach Athletic Club.
Payne would go on to play Flanker and Number 8 for the USA Rugby Men’s Eagles during the 2007 Rugby World Cup and later served as an Assistant Coach for the Eagles under Eddie O’Sullivan through the 2011 Rugby World Cup and as Forwards Coach under Mike Tolkin prior to beginning his career in university athletics.
Payne joined USA Rugby in July 2016 after leaving Life University where he orchestrated the development and implementation of a plan that expanded the department from 5 to 16 varsity sports and added more than 200 student-athletes during his 5-year tenure.
In the role of CEO, Payne is the senior World Rugby employee across North and South America having primary responsibility for the growth of the game, working in partnership with the regional associations to strengthen professional and domestic competitions, further the reach of development programs and convert new commercial opportunities.
World Rugby Representative (USA Rugby)
Bob Latham has been involved with Rugby Americas North since 2006 when he became an executive committee member. He was elected president of RAN and served in the role from 2009 to 2013. Latham was also the longest serving board member in USA Rugby history and served as Chairman of USA Rugby in 2006, and again from 2014 to 2016.
Latham served as the representative from Rugby Americas North (f/k/a NACRA) to the World Rugby Council from 2011-2016. He now is the USA Rugby representative to the World Rugby Council and serves on the 12-person World Rugby Executive Committee, a position he has held since 2011. Among his other appointments in World Rugby, he is Chairman of the World Rugby Regulations Committee.
In his 34 years as a trial lawyer Bob has distinguished himself in multiple areas. He has developed nationally recognized expertise in the areas of media law and intellectual property litigation and chairs both practice areas at Jackson Walker. Bob received his A.B. degree from Stanford University and his J.D. degree from the University of Virginia, where he served as Senior Editor of the Virginia Journal of International Law.
Cristina Flores Justic
World Rugby Representative (Mexico)
Cristina’s passion for rugby started from her first game, playing at University, in New Brunswick, Canada in 1979. When she moved to Southern Ontario in 1983, there were no women playing rugby, so she joined the St. Catharines Rugby Club Board and became the Fixtures Secretary.
After having her 3 children, she attended McMaster University for a 2nddegree and started to play again with the University’s rugby club and with the Hamilton Hornets Rugby Club, going on to win the Niagara Rugby Union (NRU) championships 3 years in a row.
In 1997, the Hamilton Hornets hosted the PARA (Pan-American rugby Association tournament) and Cristina’s languages came in handy when she became the Canadian Liaison for the Uruguay and Argentina Teams.
She then joined the NRU Board of Directors, and went on to Chair the Organizing Committee for the Canadian Women’s National Championships for the next 3 years. Cristina is still involved with Kit Aid , and raising money for Women’s rugby in Canada and Mexico.
She still plays touch rugby with the Niagara Old Boys.
- 2006-2008 Mexican Rugby Federation Board Director
- 2000-2003 Rugby Canada Board Director
- 2004-2006 Ontario Rugby Union Board Director
- 2001-2003 Canadian Rugby Board representative to the North American/West Indies Rugby Assoc. (NAWIRA)
- 2002- Advisor in the interpretation of various documents including North America and the Caribbean NAWIRA Charter of Rights
- 1996-2000 Niagara Rugby Board
Coaching: Ancaster High school, and Appleby College, in Ontario
Niall is the General Manager of RAN and the former Chief Operations Officer. Niall has extensive knowledge and experience of rugby in the region having first began working for NAWIRA (North America West Indies rugby Association) in 2003 as it’s Development Planning Officer. Originally from the UK, Niall has lived and worked in North America and the Caribbean since 1992 and is a Chartered Accountant by profession having also spent over 24 years in the financial services sectors in the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands (“BVI”). He also holds a B. Sc. (Hons) Degree in Physical Education, Sports Science and Recreation management from Loughborough University, England. Niall resides in the BVI from where he leads a team of four RAN staff members and oversees the finances and accounting function of RAN, communications with World Rugby, Corporate Governance, marketing and RAN’s administration, as well as the organisation and delivery of RAN’s competitions.
Regional Training Manager
Scott Harland has been the Regional Development Manager for Rugby Americas North since 2008. Scott started coaching and refereeing Rugby in 1987, and has done both at national and international levels. Scott helped start high school girls rugby in Winnipeg and Saskatoon, and has spent much of his coaching career focused on building the sport for women and girls. As the Regional Development Manager and a World Rugby accredited Trainer, Scott provides courses and workshops to coaches, referees and administrators across North America and the Caribbean. He still plays rugby whenever he can.
Kwanieze John is one of seven regional managers of World Rugby’s Mass Participation Program – Get into Rugby. John is a coach; a Sports Ambassador, Educator and an avid volunteer who works continuously to increase the participation of girls in sport, particularly rugby in Trinidad and Tobago, and the wider Caribbean.
John has served as a Youth Development Officer, Chef De Mission for the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games and Assistant Chef de Mission for the Singapore Games in 2010. John was also instrumental in the development of the School Girls Rugby League, which was launched in 2009, and volunteered to serve as a member of the planning and coordinating team, for the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee’s Olympic Youth Camp Programme from 2009 to 2013.
John, who grew up in St Barbs, Belmont, is a graduate of the University of Trinidad and Tobago with a Degree in Sport Studies; holds a Coach Educator License and a Level 2 coaching certificate from World Rugby. She also has additional certifications in Mediation, Sport Administration and Sport for all from TAFISA – The Association For International Sport for All.
A former National Rugby Player of the year, John served as Captain of the Royalians Rugby Football Club in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012. John was also nominated for the prestigious Sportswoman of the year award in 2007 and continues to work tirelessly to develop sport and inspire the next generation of world-class athletes from Trinidad and Tobago.
Regional Development Manager
Kennedy grew up as a multi-sport athlete in northeast Pennsylvania, graduated from Marywood University, and attended graduate school at the University of Denver for sports and psychology. USA Rugby was Kennedy’s first job post, where she oversaw youth programs. At the time she also began to pursue playing and coaching.
Kennedy has previously worked with RAN, USA Rugby, Rugby Canada, and the International Olympic Committee on youth programming and the Youth Olympic Games.
Her background is in rugby development, programming, and administration, with over ten years working in rugby.
As a co-founder of Girls Rugby, Kennedy built youth programs from the ground up. Girls Rugby provides programming for young girls aimed at leadership development and empowerment, and in under one year in existence is has grown to serve five locations throughout the US.
Laura was hired as RAN’s Media Officer in 2016 as the organization looked to improve digital platforms, expand social media presence and increase communications around events and regional activities.
A University of Minnesota graduate, Laura joins the organization with over a decade of digital and communications experience. Most recently she served as the USA Rugby Event Communications Manager where she focused on implementing media and communications strategies to increase digital engagement, event attendance and media exposure. Laura also brings experience in marketing, branding, media relations and event live streaming. Laura has been playing rugby since 1998.
Rugby Services Manager
Jennifer is a sport management professional with more than 12 years experience working in rugby. Jennifer started her rugby administrative career working for USA Rugby, where she served as Director of Operations and as Event Director for the historic USA Rugby vs. New Zealand All Blacks test, which sold out Soldier Field, in Chicago, IL.
Jennifer’s playing career spanned more than 10 years in both collegiate and club rugby in the United States and after hanging up her playing boots, she went on to become a referee–successfully officiating three USA Rugby National Championship Finals. She has been involved with the game as a player, referee, or administrator since 1999.
Jennifer is a graduate of Mississippi State University and resides in Lafayette, CO.