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Personal Statement From Nigel Short, Outgoing Chairman, Regional Rugby Wales

“It has been a great honour and privilege to Chair Regional Rugby Wales for the last three years and especially during the past twelve months when the tectonic plates of European and Welsh rugby have shifted so much.

“I will not add to the considerable comment that has already been made in the public domain as to the various benefits of what has been achieved, other than to say that the new agreements clearly represent a major step forward from where we were – but are not a panacea to all the issues that we face.

“The long-term success of the new arrangements will depend on a lot of hard work over the next few years to take Welsh Rugby forward in unity and for the benefit of the whole game in Wales.

“It represents a victory for Welsh rugby and a golden opportunity to move forward into a better future if we all have the courage to work together and build on what we have achieved.

“I will, of course, remain on the board of RRW, which will include exceptional individuals with proven and very successful track records in business and rugby.

“I would like conclude my tenure as Chairman of RRW with the following three pleas to Welsh Rugby as a whole;

Concentrate our effort on grass roots

It’s a simple engineering principle that any pyramid is only as strong as its base. Overload the top and sooner or later it will collapse. The importance of Rugby to the cities, towns and villages throughout Wales is massive. It is the bedrock of many communities and the social cohesion it helps bring to our society must not be underestimated. Keep the roots strong and the whole game will always be healthy. This is not a choice between concentrating on the one part of the pyramid or another. If we fail to keep the grassroots strong and healthy, sooner or later we will all be damaged.

Keep Wales Special

Welsh Rugby and our Welsh National Team are one of the world’s great sporting brands.

Like all great brands they face the dilemma of how to best commercialise and exploit the brand without diluting its intrinsic long-term value. It is a classic business choice between short-term gain or long-term value. It is almost always a mistake to take the short-term option. Once over exposed it is very difficult to regain the value of any brand. In other words, the more our national team plays the less special it becomes. We must avoid this short-term trap.

Always seek to ‘continuously improve’

We have a history, not only in Welsh Rugby, but in rugby in general of letting problems build up until the dam eventually breaks and major change happens all at once, sometimes with damaging results. All great companies or organisations have a culture of continuously working to improve at all levels, all of the time. Rugby is a game of six inches and business is no different. We must develop a culture that is seeking improvement all of the time and not once every five or six years when we have no choice.

I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the people who have contributed so much to the process. I’ve made many new friends and have been constantly amazed by the commitment, passion and shear hard work of those involved to get to a result.”

ENDS

For further information please contact Antonia Lamont, Head of PR, Regional Rugby Wales on 07974 421665 email: antonia@regionalrugbywales.com