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Evans orders external taskforce to probe WRU sexism claims

NEWS: Welsh Rugby Union chairman Ieuan Evans apologised for the WRU’s conduct following allegations of sexist, racist and homophobic bullying within the governing body and appointed a task force with “external expertise” to clean up Welsh rugby.

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Former WRU employees made the claims as part of a BBC investigation that was broadcast earlier this week.

Charlotte Wathan, general manager of women’s rugby until her resignation last February, said offensive comments by a colleague left her in tears and feeling sick.

Another unnamed contributor said she contemplated suicide after her experiences of bullying and sexism at work.

In his first press conference since the full allegations were made public, Evans insisted under-fire WRU chief executive Steve Phillips will continue in his role while he also revealed an external taskforce will be brought in to clean up Welsh rugby.

There have been calls for the dismissal of WRU chief executive Steve Phillips, who has said he is “shocked and appalled” by the issues highlighted by the BBC.

Evans, asked about Phillips’ position on Wednesday, told reporters: “I have total confidence that we will get this right.

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“That includes Steve. He is the chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union. We will get this right.”

The former Wales captain added: “As a father of two young women, I found it deeply distressing, and I can only apologise to all affected by this.”

Businesswoman Amanda Blanc quit after two years as Wales’ Professional Rugby Board chairwoman in November 2021 because she felt she was “not being listened to”.

In her leaving speech, Blanc referred to a “truly offensive discussion” about reducing the sanctions for an elected WRU member who had said “men are the master race” and women should “stick to the ironing”.

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Evans said it was vital to act quickly.

“My ambition here is to bring in some external expertise and establish a taskforce to ensure they review everything and ensure that we establish and develop the right culture to ensure that it is that welcoming institution we truly believe it is capable of being.

“This can’t be an internal review, this has to be external with that genuine expertise we need from other organisations.”

Wales launch their Six Nations campaign at home to Ireland on February 4.

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