Former representative hockey player Phil Holden will take over as chief executive of the NZRL, replacing the outgoing Jim Doyle who is stepping down after three years in the job.

Holden played representative hockey for Southland, Otago, Wellington and Hawkes Bay and is also former chairman of the Auckland Diamonds netball franchise. He has established relationships in Wellington, notably Sport New Zealand, through his current role as Lion Foundation chief executive.

One of the items he will work on is New Zealand's bid to co-host the 2017 World Cup. The last time a World Cup game was played here was the 1988 final at Eden Park, when Australia beat the Kiwis 25-12.

"The board has been impressed with the quality of applicants for this CEO role and we're delighted to have Phil joining us,'' NZRL chairman Scott Carter said.


"Phil understands sport and communities from many angles. Through his various roles he has been sponsored and a sponsor, and both funded and a funder.''

Holden will start in the role in February.