Welsh Rugby Union chairman Gareth Davies has been elected onto World Rugby's Executive Committee.

The former Newport Gwent Dragons chief executive and noted international fly-half, whose playing career spanned the 1970s and 80s, replaces South Africa's Oregan Hoskins who has stepped down after 10 years on the decision-making body.

Davies joins World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, vice chairman Augustin Pichot and chief executive Brett Gosper on the Committee, which also has representation from France, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and North America rugby as well as two independent members

Davies joined the WRU Board on 19 October 2014 as a national representative and was elected as Chairman on 21 October the same year.

He is also chairman of the Board of the Millennium Stadium plc, a member of the World Rugby Council, the Six Nations Committee, the British and Irish Lions and EPCR.

"It is an honour to be able to represent Welsh Rugby and this appointment to the World Rugby Executive Committee means we have a voice in all future decisions about the global game," said Davies, who earned 21 caps for Wales and also toured with the British and Irish Lions.

"These are exciting times for World Rugby as we look forward to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and take further steps to expand the global game."

Davies also chairs the WRU Group Appointments and Remuneration Panel and is a member of the Finance Committee.

He has held senior executive positions with CBI Wales, BBC Wales, Cardiff, S4C, the Sports Council for Wales, the Royal Mail and the Welsh Development Agency - where he headed the Sydney, Australia office - and is a former Dean of the Carnegie Faculty at Leeds Metropolitan University.

World Rugby also officially welcomed Georgia, Romania and USA onto its expanded Council at its interim meeting in London last week.

With a new governance model paving the way for wider representation on Council, the three unions were participating in their first meeting since being confirmed in May having achieved all the required governance criteria as stipulated within the federation's bye-laws.

The meeting was the first to feature an additional representative from Argentina and Italy and the first to feature expanded voting rights for each of the six regional associations.

"We are delighted to be welcoming Georgia, Romania and USA to Council for the first time today. These are unions who have contributed so much to the game and are making massive strides on and off the field. I know that they will make a strong contribution as we grow the sport together.

"Their inclusion shows that the pathway is in place and the door open to other unions who aspire to have a seat on Council. It is an inspiration and we encourage all unions to take inspiration from Georgia, Romania and the USA, review their governance and strive to achieve the required criteria.

"World Rugby is committed to the sustainable growth of the sport set against a backdrop of transparency, integrity and strong governance and we will continue to work with our unions to ensure that they have all the necessary support to achieve and maintain the necessary criteria moving forward."

World Rugby's Nominations Committee will be considering applications from additional Council applicants at its May 2017 annual meeting.

Additionally, the World Rugby Council has approved expanded voting rights for nine unions in accordance with wide-ranging and historic governance reform announced last year. The unions obtained an additional voting right (with no additional representative) following a full review of applications against clear criteria set out in Bye-Law 9.1 (f) by the Nominations Committee (view the criteria here).

The unions who will receive an additional vote are Australia, England, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa and Wales.

In total, there are now 46 votes on Council with each of the six regional associations receiving two in addition to the individual union allocation.

Further consideration will be given to Argentina's application in respect of meeting the necessary criteria ahead of the 2017 annual meeting.

Council approved the recommendation of the Nominations Committee to appoint Emilie Bydwell and Wang Shao-Ing to the Women's Advisory Committee. An additional representative from South America will be confirmed in due course.

Council ratified the Executive Committee's decision to suspend Kazakhstan's membership of World Rugby with immediate effect owing to ongoing governance issues.

Council also paid tribute to Italy's Giancarlo Dondi, who was attending his last Council meeting after 20 years of distinguished service to the Italian and world game.

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