A new year, a new Wales” is what Ieuan Evans promised in an open letter to Welsh rugby at the start of 2023.
The new WRU chairman has laid out his daring strategies for the Welsh game at every level over the next year.
Warren Gatland’s Grains, who have lofty goals for the Six Countries and the upcoming World Cup, will undoubtedly be the front-runners on the field.
After a miserable time under Wayne Pivac, Evans, a former Wales and Lions wing, believes that Gatland’s success can “inspire a nation in the same way that it did in 2011 and 2019.”
Naturally, Wales reached those World Cup semi-finals; however, they were humiliated to lose to France after Sam Warburton was sent off, and they were defeated 19-16 last time out when Handre Pollard kicked a penalty five minutes before the end to win for South Africa, who would go on to win the tournament.
Evans talks about the high expectations that the WRU and Gatland managers have for Wales this time around, starting with the Six Nations match against Ireland in Cardiff at the start of February.
“This is a completely exhilarating time. Warren wants to succeed immediately. In a New Year’s Day message to the entire Welsh rugby community, Evans writes, “He has put maximum pressure on himself by willingly raising expectations.”
Then, we hope Wales wins the pool and makes it to the World Cup knockout stages, where it will continue to inspire the nation in the same way that it did in 2011 and 2019.
Evans asserts that he will also proceed with his plans to modernize Welsh rugby in 2023 and reinstate a vote allowing the main board to select an independent chair. He explains that an extraordinary general meeting will be called sometime in the upcoming months to accomplish this.
Due to a lack of support from 75% of member clubs, a similar attempt to modernize recently failed. Surprisingly, only 65.6% of clubs cast ballots in favor of the initiative. A 75% majority is required to approve such a motion for significant change under WRU regulations.
Evans, on the other hand, maintains that the union will attempt the change again and that it is up to powerbrokers to properly explain the plan to clubs. Some members had criticized the previous administration for not providing sufficient information about the motion and its effects.
He also learns that former Grains prop Anthony Buchanan is now the bad habit director for the WRU. The two men, who both played for Llanelli, mean to team up to propel Welsh rugby in 2023.
In the past, Buchanan has held significant positions on the World Rugby board.
Evans is additionally confident that the six-year monetary structure that has been verbally settled upon by the WRU and the four areas will before long be supported.