By David Williams
Gareth Davies has come under fire from one of the clubs he is hoping will back his bid to remain chairman of the Welsh Rugby Union.
Both Davies and current chief executive Martyn Phillips have been sharply criticised by Aberavon Harlequins, even though the Division Two West Central club have agreed to pull the plug on plans for an extraordinary general meeting.
The Quins – one of the 34 clubs to propose an EGM over their unhappiness with the WRU’s governance – have now rescinded that request. Instead, they plan to air their grievances at this year’s AGM in October.
Davies is trying to secure the trust of Wales’ 320 member clubs in a bid to win a third term as a National Council Representative.
He has also said he is willing to change the governance rules he implemented to bid for a third stint as chair that would extend his period to nine years.
But in a remarkable letter to the other 33 clubs, seen by Dai Sport, Harlequins secretary Stuart Broad has hit out at Davies’ attempt to remain in power. Phillips is also a target for strong criticism.
Broad writes: “The general consensus is to rescind the requisition to convene an EGM in favour of utilising this year’s AGM as a platform for debate.
— Aberavon Quins RFC (@Aberavon_Quins) January 2, 2020
“I would also like to take this opportunity to express our concerns as a club that Gareth Davies is seeking to circumnavigate the rule book and extend his term as chairman of the WRU.
“I firmly believe many of the problems being experienced throughout Welsh rugby at present are sourced straight to the top. Since Gareth Davies became chairman and Martyn Phillips CEO, the top end of the game has indeed experienced record profits, of that there is little doubt.
“One other record they are perhaps not so boastful about though is the fact a record amount of community clubs in Wales have also been forced to fold.
“I do solemnly believe if Gareth Davies is successful in his attempt to retain his position at the helm of Welsh rugby, it would be disastrous for the community game as a whole.
“During the most recent National Council elections, I have learned the nearest challenger to John Manders, in terms of vote count, was Ieuan Evans.
“With that in mind, Aberavon Harlequins RFC will be supporting Ieaun’s campaign to join the National Council and therefore stop Gareth Davies in his tracks.”
Gareth Davies is being rivalled for his WRU Council seat by both wing great Evans and former Wales and Gloucester coach Nigel Davies.
Both Evans and Nigel Davies lost out to Manders in the last Council election which was to replace another former Wales international in Mark Taylor.