Gareth Edwards backs Gerald Davies over EGM speech

Gerald Davies in 2009
Gareth Edwards said it would do everyone in the WRU a 'power of good' to digest Gerald Davies' speech.

Wales legend and Cardiff Blues board member Gareth Edwards has backed the "absolutely wonderful" speech Gerald Davies made at Sunday's Welsh Rugby Union Extraordinary General Meeting.

During it, board member Davies said the WRU was "not held in high regard".

WRU chief executive Roger Lewis later said it was "very big indeed" of Davies to admit his responsibility for some of the reasons behind the EGM being held.

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales, Lewis said Davies "consistently" voted for lower-leagues structure changes and that was "out of tune and out of step" with the membership.

WRU has since announced a ballot of clubs over the leagues restructure.

Edwards, a former Wales and British and Irish Lions team-mate of wing legend Davies said: "I was rather surprised, really, that he [Roger Lewis] would have acknowledged it [Davies' speech] in such a way."

He added: "But... it would do everyone in the Welsh Rugby Union a power of good to digest the... way in which Gerald talked and what he talked about."

The WRU has been asked to respond to Edwards's comments.

Edwards said he was unaware that Davies planned to speak at the EGM.

"But I've got to say it was absolutely wonderful," said Edwards.

"By the time he sat down I felt so proud and I felt fulfilled by the passion of what he said.

"I thought it was a delivery from a rugby man about rugby to a rugby audience and I hope some people will take note of the whole thing because it is absolutely about integrity and reputation worldwide.

"And there is no doubt that whereas the results, you know Grand Slams and championships have held Wales in high esteem over the last few years, as Gerald suggested not everything in the garden is rosy.

"And there are people out there who wonder half the time why are we always squabbling, why aren't we getting on with the fundamental parts of what the sport is all about.

"And of course it's not just about international rugby.

"It's about the grassroots, the umbilical cord that goes all the way through the system to the championship, to the regional game to the international game."

Edwards says the fact that the WRU and the nation's four professional regions [represented by Regional Rugby Wales] have not agreed a deal to replace the agreement that ends on 30 June underlines the fact that Welsh rugby has issues to deal with.

The ex-Cardiff and Barbarians scrum-half, said: "It's been going on for two years now and so that in itself says that not everything is rosy.

"Okay, there are two sides to the story, I acknowledge that - I'm not going to be forceful here.

"What I'd really like to believe that what is on the table really can be circumvented, that it really can be sorted out and that a resolution can now be agreed because I think everybody within the game really have had more than enough of what's going on.

"The sooner this is sorted out, we can get on to playing rugby; we can get on to what's ahead of us."

Since the EGM, the WRU has announced a ballot of clubs over the leagues restructure.

Lewis, speaking to BBC Radio Wales' Oliver Hides the day after the meeting, said: "Things have to evolve and we will continue to sharpen the saw in the best interests of the game in Wales."

The regions are partly funded via the WRU in an agreement which guarantees a set level of income and covers the release of players for Wales international duties.

Other funding comes via participation in competitions.