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The biggest names in the world of rugby business and administration will share their frank analysis of the key issues facing the sport in a series of challenging and thought-provoking conference sessions at Rugby Expo 2011, taking place at Twickenham on November 23 and 24.

Premier Rugby CEO Mark McCafferty, Mike Miller, chief executive of the International Rugby Board, John O’Neill, head of the Australian Rugby Union, Paul Vaughan, who leads England’s Rugby World Cup team and Rob Andrew, operations director at the RFU, all feature in a world-class line-up of speakers who help shape the game at elite and community levels.

Paul Vaughan and John O’Neill are scheduled to join Mike Miller in Expo’s opening session which promises a no-holds-barred assessment of whether the IRB Rugby World Cup has delivered against objectives including driving the sustainable development of rugby worldwide.

Day Two opens with what promises to be one of the most significant of all Expo Debates. McCafferty and Andrew will be joined by Mark Evans the former CEO of Harlequins who now operates as an independent rugby consultant, Steve Rac of Middlesex RFU and Keith Butten, chairman of Luton RUFC, to discuss whether National Rugby Unions remain the best promoters and guardians of community club rugby or whether that role should fall to professional leagues and their clubs.

Elsewhere on Day One, Nick Chesworth of IMG, Alastair Kirkwood of the National Football League, Victoria Howarth, head of retail for Tottenham Hotspur FC and Dan Lyle, the former NFL player and Bath skipper who now runs USA Sevens, are among the experts who will the assess the need for radical change in the way that rugby operates in the professional era and consider the lessons which can be learned from other sports worldwide.

In addition, David Hutchinson, commercial director of RFL Super League club Warrington Wolves will share the secrets of their success in building audience, brand and revenue and Derek Palmer, managing director of (EMEA), will deliver a powerful presentation on the ways in which state-of-the-art dynamic ticketing systems can play a major role in optimising attendance.

With other speakers to be announced shortly, Jonathan Wilson, project director of Rugby Expo is convinced the 2011 event is set to be the most compelling to date. “We are delighted with the support of these high-calibre speakers,” he said. “They are all highly experienced and influential individuals whose actions and opinions will help decide how rugby develops at all levels.”

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