Rugby Union: Vaux out of election: Welsh presidency fiasco

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The Independent Online
FRESH blood spilled on the carpet at Cardiff Arms Park last night when Terry Vaux, who was due to become president of the inextricably divided Welsh Rugby Union in June, took the unprecedented step of withdrawing his candidacy, writes Steve Bale.

Thus do the recriminations over events that led 10 Welsh players, in addition to half a dozen Welsh officials who would have gone with or without the players, to the South African Rugby Board's centenary party in 1989 rumble on nearly four years later.

Vaux, a Newport lawyer and former Pontypool player, is the third president or would-be president to resign in consequence. Clive Rowlands, who was president at the time, swiftly changed his mind but Rhys Williams, who would have been president in 1991-92, did not. Vaux and Gwilym Treharne stepped down as the WRU's International Board, Five Nations and home unions delegates, though Treharne still became president during 1990-91.

'If I stood for the presidency I feel there would be a number of dissenting clubs and the effect of that would be divisive for Welsh rugby and the WRU,' Vaux said last night. As many as seven of the WRU's nine geographical districts were arrayed against him and Vaux knew his support was embarrassingly low, mainly as a result of his role as a go-between for the SARB in 1989.

Originally, no Welsh players accepted the invitation; Vaux claims that he was merely discharging his responsibility as an IB member. His withdrawal came only nine days before a WRU special general meeting in Port Talbot at which a motion of no-confidence will be proposed in the general committee due to 'its unacceptable conduct of the union's affairs', with another calling for the resignation of nearly all the committee.