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Pickering voted off WRU board

Welsh Rugby Union chairman David Pickering has failed to gain re-election to the governing body's board of directors.

The former Wales captain has missed out in a ballot of WRU member clubs.

Pickering's fellow ex-Wales internationals - current Newport Gwent Dragons chief executive Gareth Davies and Llanelli Rugby Club head of rugby Anthony Buchanan - finished ahead of him in the ballot for two national-appointed director posts and will join the 18-strong board.

Pickering, who has been WRU chairman for 11 years and enjoyed a 15-year tenure as a board member, will stand down at the WRU's annual general meeting next month, when the board will be re-formed.

The WRU said that 53-year-old Pickering will remain on the board of Rugby World Cup Limited, which is an International Rugby Board-appointed role.

"I want to be the first to publicly congratulate both Anthony and Gareth on winning the vote," former Wales team manager Pickering said.

"I know both of them personally, they are great rugby men and I will be offering them all the help I can as they join the board of the Welsh Rugby Union.

"When I took on the role of chairman I wanted to bring success back to Wales and I realised that selection of personnel, management and leadership were key.

"Changing the union to a corporate structure in 2003 was integral to its success, and the appointments of both Warren (Wales head coach Warren Gatland) and Roger (WRU chief executive Roger Lewis) have left their own marks on the successful history of the WRU.

"I came into rugby administration with the singular aim to drive Wales to success on and off the rugby field. The last 11 years will be known as a great rugby era, and we have maintained fabulous business success.

"I could not have hoped to achieve any more. I am hugely pleased with the great success Wales has had, and I am delighted to have played my part in Welsh rugby history."

The loss of Pickering will be a major blow to Lewis, and it comes just two weeks after a settlement was finally reached between the WRU and Wales' four professional regions on a new Rugby Services Agreement.

Lewis said: "The clubs of Welsh rugby have spoken in an open and transparent election process.

"I want to personally thank David Pickering for his exceptional service to the game in Wales as a player and an administrator who has earned the respect of all involved in rugby.

"He has chaired the WRU and the Millennium Stadium boards with great distinction. Under his chairmanship Wales has won three Grand Slams, reached a Rugby World Cup semi-final and has supported community rugby with record investments."

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