"There were some pretty cynical Board members going into the meeting who wanted to ask some hard questions about this whole affair. They needed convincing that the unanimous verdict they had reached on the issue last week was correct in every fashion," admitted Pickering. "This time, of course, they had the benefit of hearing directly from Mike Ruddock and his representative. Yet still, and having brought with them the concerns of many of the clubs they represent, they returned the same unanimous verdict.
"The Board has now heard all the facts from both sides surrounding the contract negotiations the Union was undertaking with Mike Ruddock. In that respect they are very much in the minority in Wales, yet have been able to make a more balanced, and non-emotive decision than many.
"As far as the WRU Board is concerned, a line has now been very firmly drawn underneath this whole process. We will, of course, be keeping our clubs fully informed and hope to get information to them before the week is out. But it is now time for Welsh rugby to move on to its next important date - the RBS Six Nations clash with Ireland in Dublin on Sunday."
At the end of what Pickering described as "a tough day in a tough week for Welsh rugby" there were two statements issued. The first came from Mike Ruddock and the second from David Pickering. Here are both statements:
STATEMENT BY MIKE RUDDOCK FOLLOWING MEETING WITH WELSH RUGBY UNION:
"I have had a meeting with the Board of the Welsh Rugby Union which has given me a full opportunity to give a detailed and factual account of the sequence of events over the last few days, which I appreciate.
"I have explained my position and given my personal views in my own words, which I hope has been useful to the Board and avoids further unnecessary speculation or any false impressions, which could undermine my personal position or that of the Board.
"It is now a matter for the Welsh Rugby Union Board to consult with the Districts and the Constituent Clubs of the WRU and decide on their next steps.
"The Board members have been provided with a copy of my statement and copies of other relevant documents, which I hope will help with their deliberations without the risk of misinterpretation or confusion as to my exact position.
"The most important message I would like to convey to Welsh rugby fans and to the media is to focus their efforts and energy on getting behind Wales for their big match against Ireland
"My message to the team itself is to concentrate on the next game and to carry on the brilliant performance against Scotland. My issues are unimportant and insignificant compared to the challenge they face on the pitch.
"I wish them all the luck in the world and I believe they can go on and win all their remaining games.
"I would also like to express my personal thanks for all the messages of support I have received.
"I will not be making any further comment at this stage and would appreciate the media's respect for my position in this matter."
MIKE RUDDOCK 21 February, 2006, 6.30pm
STATEMENT FROM WRU CHAIRMAN DAVID PICKERING FOLLOWING THE WRU BOARD MEETING OF TUESDAY, 21 FEBRUARY, AT THE MILLENNIUM STADIUM:
"We received a personal and confidential statement from Mike Ruddock. Mike has specifically asked that we keep this confidential and we respect that.
"At the end of his attendance at the meeting, Mike Ruddock confirmed he was satisfied with the process.
"The Board received a chronological report of the process involved in negotiations of Mike Ruddock's contract, which was not completed.
"The Board is satisfied and unanimously supports the actions of its executive staff and in particular, chief executive Steve Lewis and head of group services Tim Burton.
"The Board discounted media speculation that senior players had met with the chief executive to discuss Mike Ruddock prior to his resignation.
"Our attention now turns to the third match of the Six Nations campaign and, as we aim to draw a line under this matter, we wish the players, coaches and management team our full support in the remainder of the campaign.
"On behalf of the Welsh Rugby Union, we wish Mike Ruddock the very best for the future."