IEUAN Evans MBE has been elected as the new Vice-Chair of the Welsh Rugby Union.

Evans is already a director on the Board and has been elected to the position vacated by Liza Burgess, who has, in turn, taken on a new role as a WRU Lead Age Grade coach for the Women’s game.

Burgess intends to resign as a WRU National Council and Board member in order to fulfil her new role, but will remain in position until the search for her successor/s in each position is complete.

Clubs around Wales will be asked to vote in a new National Council member, to join Evans, Colin Charvis, John Manders and Claire Donovan in the coming weeks – one of Charvis, Manders, Donovan and the newly elected delegate will then be asked by the Council to also sit on the WRU Board.

“We are looking for high calibre candidates to bring a unique set of attributes and skills to Welsh rugby,” said WRU chair Rob Butcher

“It is with great pride that I, first, publicly congratulate Ieuan on his appointment as Vice-Chair of the WRU and I would also like to put on record my sincere gratitude to Liza for her service to Welsh rugby to date.

“It is of huge comfort to know that the game in Wales has not lost Liza entirely, we will just channel her distinguished skills and expertise in a different direction, much to the benefit of our Women’s Age Grade teams.

“Ieuan will be a high quality Vice-Chair and I look forward to working closely with him, as I have done with Liza, in the interests of Welsh rugby throughout the year ahead.”

Former Carmarthen Quins, Llanelli, Bath, Wales and British & Irish Lions wing Evans joined the WRU Board in 2020, after forging a distinguished ambassadorial and media career since his retirement from playing.

He already sits on the Rugby Management Board, represents Welsh rugby on the World Rugby Council and the British & Irish Lions Board and will take over as WRU Vice-Chair for the first time at a meeting later this week, although Burgess will remain in situ whilst the election process for her replacement is ongoing.

“I’m delighted to be in a position to give something back to Welsh rugby and I intend to grasp the opportunity with both hands for the betterment of the game in Wales,” said Evans.

“May I reiterate what our chair has already said and encourage clubs to nominate candidates that allow our Board to evolve and improve.

“We are constantly seeking new skills and experience at the helm of Welsh rugby, we need a dynamic, diverse and versatile group able to take our game forward and deal with the range of challenges presented by the professional and community game.

“It is our hope that our clubs will come through for us and that a number of individuals will be inspired to stand for this vacant council position, in order to further strengthen the team we have at the top.

“I would also like to echo Rob’s kind words about Liza and am equally delighted that we will still be benefiting from her wise words and counsel in Welsh rugby, albeit from a new perspective as a Women’s Age Grade Lead coach.”

Burgess was appointed as one of two Age Grade Lead coaches, alongside Byron Hayward, earlier this month. She will take on the Wales Women U18 head coach role this season while Hayward will be Wales Men U20 head coach.

In future, there will be a Wales Women U20 programme from 2023, led by Liza, and Byron will also lead the male U18 programme, ensuring a seamless transition for young male and female players.

Burgess has started her new role on a part-time basis and will move to full-time in June when she leaves her role as Worcester Warriors coach.

She will retain her position as one of the WRU’s representatives on World Rugby Council, alongside both Butcher and Evans, but will relinquish her seat on the WRU’s Board and Council at the appropriate time.

“Recent elections to the WRU Council have improved the diversity, skill set and experience and it is now key to continue our recent progress,” added Butcher.

“With Liza stepping down from her role, another National Council Member will be elected to the WRU Board and Welsh rugby will be better for having a broader pool of talent as Council Members from which to elect our Board.

“We are calling on our clubs to please identify those within your club or your wider stakeholder network who have the relevant skills and experience and who might be interested in standing as a candidate as a National Council Member and to encourage and support their candidature.”

The successful candidate for WRU National Council Member will be established before any new vote takes place at Council level to find the next WRU Board member, meaning prospective Council Members with ambitions to join the WRU Board should also be encouraged.