EX-NEWPORT lock John Manders has pledged to repay the faith shown in him by clubs around Wales after beating former internationals Ieuan Evans and Nigel Davies to a place on the Welsh Rugby Union’s national council.

Manders, who made 31 appearances for the Black and Ambers between 1980 and 1981, starts immediately.

He replaces ex-Wales centre Mark Taylor and will serve until the governing body’s annual general meeting next year.

Over 70 per cent of member clubs voted, a record response after a digital system was used for the first time.

"I am extremely proud to be appointed and it’s a huge privilege to be able to work for Welsh rugby at this level,” said Manders.

“I have had a tremendous amount of support from clubs around Wales and I would like to assure everyone that I will be working my hardest to repay the faith that has been shown in me.

“It was a great contest and I’d like to thank everyone who has given me a platform to speak and also the two other candidates in the race who have helped raise the profile of this important position.

“For me the hard work starts here, I am hugely privileged to be in this position and I am determined to make the most of it on behalf of the club game around the country.”

Manders is a stalwart of Old Illtydians rugby club and was a Welsh Youth international.

He played for Newport, Cardiff and Pontypridd, has served the Illts in multiple roles including chairman and team manager, and is described as the "heartbeat of the club".

He is a former sergeant with South Wales Police and after retiring has worked as an assessor, lectures in law at the University of South Wales, is also artistic director at Tickledom Theatrical Productions and a director of learning at Credwch Ltd.

“We are delighted to welcome John to the team,” said WRU chairman Gareth Davies.

“The national council member role is an important position within the WRU’s governance structure and I know John will be committed to making a difference to Welsh rugby.

“As a national council member, he will also be in a position to be elected to the WRU Board as directors’ terms are completed.

“He has beaten two very tough and high-profile candidates to the role and Welsh rugby can be extremely proud of the calibre of individual we are able to attract for these important governance positions.

“I would like to personally thank both Ieuan and Nigel for their candidacies and all three for the enthusiasm and professionalism with which they approached their campaigns.

“In John we have acquired someone with an incredibly strong community rugby background who, I’m sure, will bring absolute dedication to the role.”