In a strategic move bridging the worlds of rugby and netball, former Wales rugby captain Ken Owens has joined the Cardiff Dragons as a non-executive director. Owens, who retired in April after an illustrious 18-year career, brings a wealth of elite sports experience to the club.

This appointment follows the Dragons earning a spot as one of the eight new franchises set to compete in the revamped Netball Super League next season. Owens’ transition into sports governance is well-timed, leveraging a storied career which includes 91 caps for Wales, two tours with the British and Irish Lions, and appearances in three World Cups.

His rugby accolades include four Six Nations titles and a Pro12 title with the Scarlets in 2017. Owens’ leadership extends off the field, to roles such as the players’ representative on the Scarlets’ board, chairman of the Welsh Rugby Players Association, and a member of the International Rugby Players Council.

‘I’m hugely interested in sports governance and the opportunity to go and work in a different sport, and gain new experiences, and learn new things, is very exciting,’ said Owens. ‘With the advent of the new era of Super League Netball, it’s a great time to get involved. I’m newly retired now, so I’ll have a lot more time on my hands to be able to contribute in whichever way I can and support their dream of becoming a fully professional outfit.’

The Dragons have experienced a significant turnaround on the court, moving towards a promising mid-table finish and increased attendance at their House of Sport venue. The final two home games of the season will be held at the larger Utilita Arena in Cardiff, a testament to their growing fanbase.

Dragons chief executive Vicki Sutton views Owens’ recruitment as a milestone in the club’s evolution. ‘Everyone in Wales knows who Ken is, so it’s a good fit because we want everyone in Wales to know who the Cardiff Dragons are,’ said Vicki. ‘Ken will bring a huge amount to the board. He loves netball, he knows professional sport because he has spent more than half his life within it.’

Owens’ appointment is part of the team’s broader strategy to expand their supporter base and increase male participation in netball. ‘Netball has always been female-first and that is something I have always really loved about the sport,’ added Sutton. ‘But it’s also absolutely time to open the doors to more male participants and more male fans.’

As netball remains the most popular female participation sport in the UK, with over three million players and eight million TV viewers last year, Owens’ involvement is poised to further elevate the Cardiff Dragons and the sport itself.

Author WCS

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