Former Wales and Lions star Ieuan Evans has been elected as a WRU National Council Member, winning a three-way vote against Union chairman Gareth Davies and Nigel Davies.
It means Gareth Davies’ six year reign as WRU chairman will now come to an end next month.
The ex-Cardiff, Wales and Lions fly-half had been ready to stay on for a year or so to help guide Welsh rugby through the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.
But he needed to be re-elected as a Council Member first and having failed on that front, his tenure as chairman ends after two terms.
The 72-cap Evans MBE, who captained Wales 28 times, will take up his post after the next WRU Annual General Meeting in October, a gathering which will mark the end of Davies’ time at the helm.
Evans will now be a leading candidate for the soon-to-be vacant role of chairman.
He would first need to be nominated to the WRU board by the Council and then elected by board members.
But the man who scored 33 tries for Wales and went on three Lions tours (1989, ‘93 & ‘97) has to be seen as a frontrunner.
“It’s a huge honour to be chosen by member clubs to represent them on the WRU National Council and I will be doing everything I can to reward the faith they have shown in me,” said the former Carmarthen Quins, Llanelli and Bath winger, who has forged an ambassadorial and media career since his retirement from playing.
“The community game is essential to the general health and welfare of our national sport and it is on these foundations that we should build our future.
“While we must constantly challenge, evaluate and review I would also like to thank Gareth for his dedication during his tenure on the council and his service to Welsh rugby over many years.”
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Outgoing chairman Gareth Davies said: “Congratulations to Ieuan on winning this position on the National Council and thank you to Nigel also for the commitment and enthusiasm he showed for the contest.
“I campaigned for stability, but the clubs have spoken and voted for change as a new chair to be appointed once my term ends.
“I would like to take this opportunity to wish my successor well, whoever it may be, and thank everyone in Welsh rugby for the friendship, acceptance and also challenges that I have been privileged to enjoy over the last six years as chair.”
At its meeting following the AGM, the 19-strong WRU Council will elect or re-elect four of its members – including one of the National Council Members – to join the WRU Board. The Board will then elect a new chair.
The WRU Board has 12 members in total and also includes the WRU CEO and two non-elected, non-executive directors and the chair of the Professional Rugby Board (PRB).
Evans will serve for an initial term which will begin at the close of next month’s AGM and expire at the end of the AGM in 2023.