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Ieuan Evans joins race to be the next chair of WRU

Ieuan Evans

WELSH Rugby Union chairman Gareth Davies faces a three-way fight to remain in situ with Ieuan Evans and Nigel Davies set to stand against him for his council seat.

At stake for Davies is his place on the World Rugby executive committee and directorships with Rugby World Cup, Six Nations, British & Irish Lions and EPCR.

Davies has offered himself up for an extension of his term as chairman of the WRU board of directors.

In a move that mirrors what happened six years ago when Davies stood against the incumbent chair David Pickering, he will now be challenged by two equally high-profile former internationals.

Evans and Nigel Davies were recently pipped by John Manders for the National Council seat vacated by Mark Taylor, but are ready to stand again in the latest ballot.

Entries have to be submitted by August 3.

Gareth Davies invited candidates to step forward to fight for not only his seat, but also those of the five Districts that are up for re-election in a recent letter to all 320 member clubs.

When Gareth Davies was elected instead of Pickering in 2014, he was voted in as chairman at his first meeting. Four years later he convinced the membership to change the governance of the game in Wales by creating a WRU Board of 12 directors to sit above the National Council which looks after the community game.

There is also a Professional Rugby Board that now governs the professional game in Wales.

Their independent chair person also has a seat on the WRU Board. While the governance reforms were initially well received, within a year there was a call for an EGM when 34 clubs joined forces to object to the way in which the WRU audited and funded the clubs.

WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips had planned to leave in June, but has stayed on to steer the governing body through the coronavirus crisis. Davies has offered to provide further continuity if required by agreeing to extend his period as chairman beyond the stipulated period of six years.

That was one of the conditions of his governance reform in 2018, along with only permitting three terms of three years as a National Council member.

TRP understands five applicants have already been interviewed for the post of chief executive. These include two members of the union’s current executive board, group finance director Steve Phillips and operations manager Julie Paterson.

Evans said: “While it was disappointing to lose out to John (Manders) in the last election, I was greatly encouraged by the support and feedback I received from standing. I’ve been asked to do so again and I’d love nothing more than to serve the best interests of the rugby clubs of Wales.

“Gareth is obviously very experienced and widely respected, but just as he was able to come in and pick up the reins very quickly and effectively from David, I believe I could do a similar job.

“However, this is not a battle for the chairmanship. It is about representing the game at large in Wales, ensuring there is a bottom-up, not top-down approach to improving our national sport.”


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