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Claire Donovan

Claire Donovan

New-look WRU Board now complete

The new-look Welsh Rugby Union Board for 2024 is now complete.

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Elections held last week have revealed the four Members elected by the club and community game in Wales to sit alongside the eight appointed Directors already confirmed.

The final pieces of the jigsaw were put in place when National Council Member Claire Donovan was elected to the WRU Board unopposed, while John Manders was confirmed as Community Game Board chair which grants him his place.

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Colin Wilks and Chris Jones were both elected as the District Council Members to sit on the Board, completing the 12-person contingent.

Donovan becomes only the second woman to be elected onto the Board (rather than appointed to it), following in the footsteps of Liza Burgess who was a Director in 2019 and became vice-chair in 2020, before standing down to take on a professional role within the WRU’s performance department in 2021.

 “I relish the opportunity to join the Board at a pivotal time for Welsh rugby,” said the 75-times capped Donovan, who joined the WRU Council in 2021 as an elected National representative.

“We must be grateful to those Board members who have cleared the way ahead for our game and helped introduce governance modernisation that will pay dividends long into the future.

“If you love Welsh rugby and want to see it thrive and flourish, then these are exciting times to be a member of the team on the WRU Board.

“With positive change being introduced at a great pace throughout the game it will be our responsibility to foster and monitor this evolution for the betterment of our game.”

John Manders, who is a Nationally appointed Director, has been re-elected for a second term as Community Game Board chair and joins the Board as a result, said:

“These are exciting times as we evolve the WRU Board and bolster commercial and business experience alongside a full and diverse range of business skills.

“As elected members, our contribution is as important as ever and this is something which has really come across from our new members and from our chair Richard Collier-Keywood.

“The representation of our member clubs is as valuable to our Board as the new skills and diverse range of experience it now also boasts.”

Colin Wilks, who is a former chair and secretary of Risca rugby club and was elected to the Council as the member for District A, said: “Our role as elected directors is to support those member clubs who have put their faith in us, by voting us into this position and to ensure that the club and community game remains at the forefront of all of our strategic thought.

“I have been immediately impressed by new Board colleagues, as they have been appointed over recent weeks, and have noticed an enthusiasm around the WRU based upon this new influx of knowledge, skills and experience.”

Fellow Director Chris Jones, who was a founding member of the Newcastle Emlyn Club, added: “We were given a mandate by member clubs to modernise our Board and we have achieved this.

“This is the first step on our journey to evolve and improve our game and we must now take great care to let the changes we have made bed in and allow them to take effect.

“Although we may all have different approaches and perspectives, we all take our responsibilities to our the game extremely seriously and it is this melting pot of ideas and experience, coupled with a passion for our game, which I’m confident will provide the right recipe for future success.”

The new quartet join new CEO Abi Tierney, who starts in January, WRU chair Richard Collier-Keywood, PRB chair Malcolm Wall and recently announced independent Non-Executive Directors (iNED) Alison Thorne, Jennifer Mathias, Jamie Roberts, Amanda Bennett and Andrew Williams.

Collier Keywood, who was brought in as the WRU’s first independent chair in July, is hugely enthusiastic about the final make-up of the 2024 Board.

“I’m delighted to welcome Claire, John, Colin and Chris to the Board team,” he said.

 “We now have a Board that has a great balance of skills and experience across all different aspects of our rugby game, communities, public sector and business and which is ready to support Welsh rugby across Wales.

“We’re pleased to have delivered on our promise to ensure a 40% gender balance on the Board and, now with the Board fully assembled, I have no doubt it meets the highest of standards.

“We have a talented group of diverse individuals and we are united in our purpose of ensuring that  Welsh rugby flourishes at all levels of the game on and off the pitch.

“We now have in place the diversity of talent and skillset required to ensure our place in the elite women’s and men’s game and we are determined to continue to grow and support all sections of our community game.”



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New-look WRU Board now complete
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New-look WRU Board now complete
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