CHIEF executive Martyn Phillips is staying with the Welsh Rugby Union for the "foreseeable future" because of the coronavirus outbreak.

In January Phillips told the governing body's board that he would be stepping down this summer after five years in charge.

However, the pandemic – which led to the WRU cancelling the domestic season and warning of a huge financial impact – has led to him agreeing to stay in the hotseat at Principality Stadium.

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"Martyn has resolutely and determinedly stepped up to meet the challenges posed to Welsh rugby by the current world health crisis in the last days and weeks and it is a hugely positive development for us, in these testing times, to have mutually agreed for him to stay on for the foreseeable future," said WRU chairman Gareth Davies.

"He will provide the stability and continuity we will so desperately need to ensure that Welsh rugby, from grassroots right through to the senior international and professional game, navigates these challenges and hits the ground running once this pandemic is over.

"With so many moving parts and so much uncertainty about the immediate future of our game, it is hugely reassuring to now know that we will continue to be in Martyn's safe hands for as long as is necessary."

Davies, who had formed a selection panel and instructed recruitment agencies, has paused his search for Phillips' successor so that all energies can be focussed upon current pressing matters.

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"It has been my great privilege to work for Welsh rugby over the last five years and it has become clear to us all, that now is not a good time to begin the transition to a new CEO, so I am only too pleased to continue in the role as we negotiate unprecedented circumstances," added Phillips.

"Our goal is simple. We have set ourselves the goal to emerge from this crisis with the WRU and all teams and clubs, whether they be amateur, semi-professional or professional, intact and able to have a sustainable future.

"I know how much rugby means to Wales and I am committed to stay until such a time as we reach calmer waters and we can again enjoy what sport and rugby means to us all.

"There are so many people across Wales making huge sacrifices at the moment to support us all through extraordinarily difficult times.

"Compared to the challenges they are facing and against that wider context I had no decision to make."

Last week the Union warned of tough times ahead.

"From a financial perspective the WRU is forecasting a significant drop in revenue from international and club competitions. Our stadium events programme is also uncertain," read an update.