THE crisis at the WRU deepens as Dragons chairman David Buttress joined fellow colleagues in calling on Steve Phillips to quit as chief executive of Wales rugby’s governing body over alleged incidents of sexism and discrimination.

Dragons chairman David Buttress seemed torn in a tweet he released, but finally announced he cannot stand by and let the allegations go unchallenged.

A number of former WRU employees took part in an investigation by BBC Wales, with accusations about their time at the organisation.

Charlotte Wathan, general manager of women’s rugby until her resignation last February, claimed offensive comments were made by a colleague which left her in tears and feeling sick, while another unnamed contributor says she was left contemplating suicide by her experiences of bullying and sexism at work.

It’s now clear that Buttress cannot stand by and let these allegations go unheard.

“I love Welsh rugby,” said Buttress in a tweet this evening, January 26. “I love the Drags and what we are trying to build together and I care deeply and passionately about all our national teams and sport.

“For this reason, with deep regret that it’s come to this, I fully endorse my fellow Cwmbran friend and colleagues (in calling Phillips to step down).”

South Wales Argus:

(Buttress tweeted this eveing)

It comes as Welsh Rugby Union chair Ieuan Evans vowed that a taskforce that includes “external expertise” will be established to help tackle allegations of racist, homophobic and sexist bullying within the governing body.

Former Wales captain Evans said: “I thank Hayley for her constructive and heartfelt comments and I will not only write back in detail but intend to meet up in person just as I will with a number of different stakeholders from outside of the WRU.

“As I made clear in statements yesterday, I will now lead on the composition of a new externally sourced taskforce which will review our culture, systems and structures.

“We need to respond to the public scrutiny we are currently experiencing, but this is also the right thing to do.  We are listening.

“We are not deaf to the observations and criticisms we are receiving and we must re-examine, re-evaluate, act decisively where we find wrong-doing, and move forwards.  

"We will do this together, we take responsibility together.  We will also seek outside influence and counsel as well as looking within to the likes of our independent Board directors as Hayley suggests. 

“I am already on public record, in a letter I wrote to member clubs for the New Year, with my ambitions to evolve the governance structure of the WRU with the clubs and we will address this challenge with renewed vigour immediately.

"We will use the pressure we are under now, the pressure we have drawn on ourselves, to get better, to improve.  I will not waver from this task.”

Fans group JSG Cymru wrote to Evans calling for Phillips to be dismissed and the Principality Building Society, sponsors of Wales’ national stadium in Cardiff and supporters of the Welsh grassroots game, described the allegations as “extremely concerning”.