THE Dragons have joined the criticism of the Welsh Rugby Union in a joint statement with their three professional club rivals, calling for the governing body to show “strong leadership that has been absent” for years.

An independent review found that the WRU contained elements that were sexist, misogynistic, racist and homophobic.

The Dragons have reacted along with Cardiff, the Ospreys, Scarlets and the Welsh Rugby Players’ Association.

“The professional game in Wales has called for reform for many years, because it was clear that change was needed.

“We unanimously support the sentiments captured within the letters of Amanda Blanc and Hayley Parsons OBE and we are now grateful to the expert panel for their recommendations.

“It is both critical these recommendations are implemented promptly, but also that the WRU focuses and displays the strong leadership that has been absent on the many challenges that have faced our game post the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This collaborative support includes a strong demand for the recommended clear equality, diversity and inclusion strategy, with demonstrable visible and vocal leadership.

“All four professional clubs, as well as the Welsh Rugby Players Association, now look forward to working with the newly appointed WRU board and executive to deliver a long-term strategy for the game at all levels and a culture of transparency, accountability and success.

“A successful professional game in Wales is not only the goal, but a necessity to drive revenue to sustain and develop the game at all levels.”

Former Professional Rugby Board chair Blanc, a hugely successful businesswoman, stood down from that role and the WRU board in November 2021 after being exasperated by attitudes within the organisation.

Among a host of criticisms outlining her reasons for standing down, Blanc said her leaving speech that “the treatment of the pro clubs also needs very serious review.”

“If you all believe that the flow of talent from the pro clubs to the Welsh game is essential for the future of Welsh rugby, then I strongly suggest you push Steve [Phillips, former chief executive] for a coherent strategy which starts again with the PRA [Professional Rugby Agreement] and looks to invest in the game properly to ensure future relevance and success.”

A new deal between the governing body and the professional quartet was agreed at the end of last season.