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Now David Moffett flies back ‘to end war’ in Wales

David MoffettDavid Moffett launches his one-man crusade to save Welsh rugby this week with a mighty declaration of intent: “I will end the war.”

Before flying halfway round the world, the controversial former WRU chief executive explained why he believes he can settle “a matter of national shame”.

“It needs someone who is strong and even-handed,” Moffett said from his home in New Zealand. “Someone prepared to work with all parties to ensure the clubs are treated as proper shareholders.

“I should be able to get the two sides talking constructively and working on how to develop a proper partnership. I want to make a difference from inside the camp which is why I’m moving back to Wales to live.”

As soon as he arrives in Cardiff on Wednesday, the 66-year-old will activate a plan of campaign in support of his call that the WRU’s 320 clubs demand a Special General Meeting over the crisis.

He says: “The clubs have to ask themselves two questions: ‘Are we happy with the way the WRU is being run? Are we happy with the regions?’ My intelligence is that many clubs are not happy.”

A body of opinion within Welsh rugby has not forgiven him, and never will, for creating the regional teams in 2003 at the expense of clubs like Pontypridd.

“I invested blood, sweat and tears in Welsh rugby,” he said. “It wasn’t pleasant at times but what was done had to be done for the betterment of Welsh rugby.”

Moffett’s plan is to win a seat on the WRU board with the ambitious goal of becoming chairman at some stage after the summer elections.

“I believe I will be good for Welsh rugby,” he said. “I realise there are going to be many obstacles to what I’m setting out to achieve but I feel so passionate about this that I am prepared to do what I can.”

The four regions have given the WRU until the end of the month to support their entry into the Champions’ Cup, the alternative European competition proposed by the English clubs but blocked by the Celtic and French Unions.    The WRU have sent the regions a revised version of the ‘participation agreement’ agreeing to Union control for five more years.

“I don’t think there’s a hope in hell of the participation agreement being signed,” Moffett said. “What has to be put in place is a rock solid platform for the future of Welsh rugby. Welsh rugby is too important to world rugby to allow it to implode.

“I’m already talking to a bunch of people and clubs and working on my strategy. I will meet with the regions to explain to them why I’m doing what I’m doing. I’ll be looking to make contact with as many clubs as I can.

“Prior to 2003, Welsh rugby was in a hole. There was no success on the field and the WRU were technically insolvent. I was under no illusion that what I did was going to meet with universal approval.

“All I can do is point to the results. The WRU have enjoyed the most successful decade in their history.”

As revealed in The Rugby Paper last week, the WRU have proposed that the six players they want to contract – Sam Warburton, Leigh Halfpenny, Adam Jones, Alun-Wyn Jones, Rhys Priestland and Scott Williams – would be loaned to English clubs in the event of the regions being liquidated.

Moffett dismissed that as “the most stupid utterance I have heard for a long time”.   He added: “If the WRU are prepared to do that and the clubs are prepared to let them do it, then Wales really is in a sorry state. I think the regions are also culpable. They have not done enough to get people behind their teams.”


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