Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A landmark review aimed at boosting the profiles of the Principality Premiership and Championship division has been launched by the Welsh Rugby Union.

The aim of the initiative is to encourage more people to engage with the leagues which are pivotal levels of the game in Wales.

An initial meeting involving representatives from the clubs and supported by Pro Rugby Wales along with broadcasters and WRU officials was hosted at the Millennium Stadium this week to outline the initiative.

WRU Group Chief Executive, Martyn Phillips, the CEO of Pro Rugby Wales, Mark Davies and WRU Chairman, Gareth Davies attended along with club representatives and senior broadcaster stakeholders from BBC Cymru Wales and S4C.

The meeting, chaired by the WRU CEO, explored the current strengths of the leagues and how Welsh rugby can operate strategically to showcase the standards of rugby being delivered at these levels across Wales.

Delegates who attended agreed that both leagues deliver an exciting brand of rugby with genuinely competitive games mainly featuring evenly matched teams.

The leagues are recognised as the breeding grounds for talent where supporters can watch the future stars emerging into the senior game.

All the clubs involved exist at the heart of local communities and enjoy the support of a passionate fan base and strong armies of stalwart volunteers.

Martyn Phillips said: “We want to work together to ensure we are seizing every opportunity to create interest in these important leagues. We are determined that we dig into these issues and come up with solutions which we must then deliver in order to make a difference. The process has now begun and we want this to become an ongoing dialogue as we explore ideas together.

“At our first meeting we looked at the strengths of the leagues and then talked openly about specific areas of improvement which we have to face up to.

“We were delighted by the level of engagement from the clubs and it was particularly gratifying to have input from the Regions through Mark Davies and the broadcasters who are pivotal to this process.

“We have to work together at all levels to get the very best out of the game for all our players, coaches, administrators, volunteers and supporters.

“At the meeting we all made it clear we have to do more than talk about issues and the focus must be on identifying ways of improving what is already a strong level of our game.”

Mark Davies, CEO of Pro Rugby Wales: “This is an important initiative and we’ll give it our wholehearted support – it’s vital for the future success of the game in Wales that we encourage working in partnership and with a spirit of unity and common purpose across all levels of rugby.

“Our shared responsibility is to recognise, respect and support the efforts and contributions of all those involved in the club game; our rugby pathway simply would not work without our Premiership and Championship clubs and all those involved in the community game. Every step of the pathway increases the level of intensity, rugby instinct and knowledge – key to the future of Welsh rugby.”

Martyn Phillips also explained that WRU investment effort will build up its digital capability so that the WRU, Regions and clubs can connect regularly to build an online community including players, supporters, volunteers, referees and coaches.

The ultimate aim is for more fans to support rugby at the Regions, the Principality Premiership, the SSE SWALEC Championship and the other national leagues in preference to other entertainment options.