What is Pro Rugby Wales?

Pro Rugby Wales represents the interests of the four professional regional rugby teams in Wales – Cardiff Blues, Dragons Rugby, Ospreys and Scarlets and works in close in partnership with the WRU for the long-term sustainability and success of Welsh Rugby as a whole.

Pro Rugby Wales is a signatory to the EPCR agreement and has board membership of the PRO12 championship and European competitions, and carries responsibility for Welsh professional rugby interests as a key contributor in ensuring the long-term health and wellbeing of the key these competitions. The regional sides have won five league titles, two Anglo-Welsh Cups and one European trophy since their inception in 2003.
Pro Rugby Wales is managed through a Board of Directors which includes the Chairman of the four professional teams, an independent chairman and independent non-executive Director and Pro Rugby Wales Chief Executive.
Pro Rugby in Wales is a key driver of opportunity and growth within game in Wales with a strong partnership approach across the game united by shared goals and vision; supporting four clubs that are part of the fabric of Welsh sporting culture – with a collective turnover of £30m per annum, a direct economic contribution to Wales in excess of £50m per annum, providing employment for around 1,000 people with more than 1,000 professional and semi-professional rugby players and more than 50 highly skilled coaching, conditioning and medical staff.

 Who is Pro Rugby Wales?

Alan Whiteley, Senior Independent Director

Alan graduated with a first from Cambridge University in Law and went on to take articles with Phillips and Buck which later became part of international law firm Eversheds.  He became the youngest national partner of the corporate law group in 1989, heading up the corporate divisions for South Wales and the West. He left in 1998 to become a partner in a corporate finance boutique firm before also setting up a corporate law practice in 1999. Since then he has served as a non-executive director of a number of high profile businesses both in the UK and the US.  He was Chief Executive of Cardiff City FC from 2011 to 2013.  Currently, he provides corporate consultancy to a number of different organisations and is Managing Director of an Education and Sports Company.

Antonia Lamont, Head of Public Relations

A former award winning journalist, Antonia was a board member and director of public relations at Wales’ leading communications agency Merlin based in Cardiff Bay, where she headed up one of the fastest-growing PR teams in Wales for 10 years before leaving at the end of 2007 to set up her own consultancy business. Previously, she has acted as PR consultant to the Scarlets board and senior management team overseeing the Region’s PR campaign for the past 10 years including the transition from Stradey Park to their new stadium Parc y Scarlets and overseeing a year-long BBC Wales behind the scenes documentary on regional rugby. Her work has included providing strategic consultancy on both rugby and stadium/event, community, events and business-to-business public relations campaigns. Antonia took on the role of Head of Public Relations for Regional Rugby Wales (RRW) in 2012 leading public and media awareness through the ongoing discussions to secure the future of Welsh Regional Rugby in the 18 months leading up the new RSA agreement. She also led the transition of RRW to Pro Rugby Wales in October 2014. Antonia is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

Pro Rugby Wales Board

The Board of PRW consists of some of Wales’ most experienced business leaders along with the directors of each of the four professional clubs and between them have hundreds of years of combined commercial experience running some of the country’s most successful businesses, from blue chip companies such as Tesco and Honda to iconic Welsh brands such as Penderyn and Peter’s Pies. The business acumen they collectively bring to Welsh rugby, is unrivalled in Wales.

Nigel Short – Scarlets Chairman

Nigel is Executive chairman of Penderyn, Wales’ only single malt whisky and recognised as one of the finest whiskies in the world, where he has been involved since 2004. He led a £150m turnover worldwide steel industry business for 25 years that employed 1,500 people in six different countries as well as holding leading roles with a number of international businesses throughout his career. He is a qualified rugby referee and has coached junior rugby at Whitland RFC for the past five years. He also runs a 400-acre organic lamb and beef farm in Carmarthenshire.  Nigel Short is Chairman of the Scarlets and formerly of Regional Rugby Wales (RRW) and led the Four Welsh Regions in their negotiations and position on the future of rugby in Wales working within UK and European Rugby structures.

Roger Blyth, Chairman, Ospreys

Respected rugby ambassador, Roger is an ex-Wales International and Swansea RFC’s second highest all-time points scorer. He has been a director of the Ospreys for over a decade. After retiring from the game he was a director of industrial clothing company W A Blyth Ltd and was a director of Eurosafe is an alliance of the very best independent Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) distributors around the UK, with a group turnover of over £ 100m. He has been part of the Ospreys since their inception in 2003/4 when Neath and Swansea RFC merged as Roger became joint managing director with former Ospreys director Mike Cuddy.

David Buttress, Chairman, Dragons Rugby

The former Just Eat chief executive and co-founder, who is from Cwmbran in Gwent, will lead a new Board of directors at the region as it enters a new era.
The 40-year-old entrepreneur and business graduate, who was recently recognised as one of the UK’s 500 most influential people by Debretts – and is currently a member of joint venture capital firm 83North – has also invested financially in the Dragons, a significant sign of his confidence and excitement about the future.
He was educated at Croesyceiliog comprehensive school before leaving for Middlesex University and embarking on a business career which has seen him earn a host of accolades and awards, including the 2015 Entrepreneur Wales award.

Peter Thomas, Chairman, Cardiff Blues

Peter Thomas established Peter’s Pies with his brother in 1971. The company went on to employ 900 people and was sold in 1988 to Grand Metropolitan for in excess of £96million. He then became a major shareholder in TBI which owned eight airports, including Cardiff, Belfast and Luton and was acquired in 2004 for £550million. In 1988 Peter Thomas formed the Atlantic Properties, on of Wales’ most successful entrepreneurs, the focus of the business has been to finance and develop property based projects, which can then be sold into the investment market. Peter has been a Director of Cardiff Rugby Football Club Limited since February 1997.

 What does Pro Rugby Wales do?

Pro Rugby Wales was established in 2008 to represent the best interests of Welsh regional rugby in response to the Regions’ growing desire for a stronger partnership approach to the running and administration of professional rugby in Wales. Most recently, Pro Rugby Wales was instrumental in securing a new Rugby Services Agreement (RSA) with the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) which creates a fair, progressive and credible foundation to protect and support the best interests of Welsh rugby into the future.

Over the years, Pro Rugby Wales has consistently represented the interests of Welsh rugby with determination, strength and focus. Our role now is to ensure the effective implementation of the RSA, representing the best interests of Welsh Regional Rugby at all competition and governing body meetings, working on structures and governance which will have the ability to take Regional Rugby forward professionally with a strong focus on commercial gain.

We are committed to working together with the four Regions as one team to grow professional rugby in Wales and ensure it reaches its full potential.