A PETITION calling for the removal of a former leader of the Scottish Conservatives from the board of Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) has garnered thousands of signatures.

Ruth Davidson, who led the party between 2011 – 2019, was appointed as a non-executive director of SRU on Thursday.

However, despite Scottish Rugby claiming she would bring a “depth of experience” to the board, many rugby fans have reacted with fury at the appointment and threatened to boycott games.

Now, a petition calling for Davidson to removed from the post has garnered more than 2000 signatures after being launched on Friday.

Posted by rugby fan Scott McCarthy on behalf of “concerned supporters and enthusiasts of Scottish rugby”, the petition lists five reasons why they believe the former politician is unsuitable for the role. 

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Conflict of interest is cited as the first reason, with the petition stating that as “a prominent politician affiliated with the Conservative Party, she holds strong political biases that may influence decision-making within the SRU.”

The petition also notes Davidson’s “lack of experience or expertise directly related to rugby administration or management” and questions whether her appointment will impact “public perception” of the sport.

It reads: “The presence of a politically polarizing figure like Ruth Davidson within the SRU can lead to public scepticism about its independence from external influences or agendas unrelated to rugby development itself.

“Maintaining transparency in sports governance is paramount for maintaining public trust and support.

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“We urge the Scottish Rugby Union to prioritize the best interests of Scottish rugby by removing Ruth Davidson from her position as Non-Executive Director.

“By doing so, the SRU can demonstrate its commitment to impartiality, expertise, and inclusivity within its governance structure.”

SNP MP Gavin Newlands said that Davidson’s appointment appeared to confirm a stereotype he has been attempting to convince people was “massively exaggerated” – namely, that “rugby is for posh folk and full of Tories.”

The petition currently has nearly 5000 signatures.

McCarthy said that the appointment failed to match the "core values" of the SRU. 

He told The National: "I am of the opinion that SRU have dropped a clanger. 

"The appointment of Ruth Davidson was always going to divide opinion. 

"What grates me is her appointment does not match the core values of the SRU: respect, leadership, achievement, engagement and enjoyment. 

"I will not go into a political rant beyond the fact that I'd feel the same about Alex Salmond being taken on as a non-exec. 

"This isn't as political as 'don't like the Tories'; it's very much about the person in question." 

He added: "She has a most terrible and abhorrent voting record and even, most recently, accused 'the SNP' (therefore a large swathe of the support at Murrayfield) of being anti-English, using Westminster as a cipher. 

"This is an utterly terrible stance to take. 

"Beyond this, the SRU have created a split in support right before the world cup."