Fax: 029 2082 2474, © 2020 Content Copyright Welsh Rugby Union, Statistical Data © Opta. The only proposal offered to the clubs was for four regional sides, all of which would be under the control of the Welsh Rugby Union with the existing clubs acting as feeder clubs providing their best players to the regions. Welsh rugby's professional teams have returned no positive tests for Covid-19 ahead of the weekend's Pro14 derbies. [13] The five regions were: Celtic Warriors was acquired and liquidated by the WRU at the end of the 2003-04 season, leaving four Welsh regional sides and redrawn catchment areas. [1] At the end of October, David Moffatt was appointed Group Chief Executive of the Welsh Rugby Union, and he was tasked with reducing the debt of the Union. The brand new Welsh Rugby jersey is on sale now exclusively from the Official Welsh Rugby Store. Telephone: 02920 822 000 [1] Clubs struggled for support, with reigning champions Swansea attracting a crowd of just 932 for a home game against Pontypridd in late 2001. [4] The locations of the four regions, and the proposed feeder clubs were as follows: The proposal was rejected by the Premier League clubs, who had expected five 'superclubs' to be formed made up of partnerships between existing clubs. [14], The regions have been reasonably successful in the Pro12 (renamed Pro14 from 2017–18 forward), with Welsh teams winning on 5 separate occasions. A new division 6 was added for the 2007-08 season split into Central, East, and West divisions, however teams will not be promoted to Division 5 from these leagues. [10], On 19 March, Llanelli RFC issued legal proceedings against the WRU, claiming that the Union were acting unlawfully in breaching an agreement between the clubs and the Union that was signed six years previously and were also in breach of European competition law. [21] This ultimately didn't happen however following the signing of a new participation agreement. In 2018 and 2019 the Welsh Rugby Union launched plans labelled Project Reset, led by a Professional Rugby Board, to start discussions of reforming salaries and the regional club system. A desire for success in Europe had been one of the principal reasons for setting up the regions in the first place. | Live Rugby Features | ESPN Scrum", "Special report: The story of Welsh rugby attendances in the regional era", "Damning report questions survival of Welsh rugby regions - BBC Sport", "Heineken Cup row: Welsh regions opt for Premiership over their union | Sport", "Newsroom | Welsh Rugby Union | Official Website : WRU Statement", Snelling Sevens (Welsh seven-a-side tournament), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Introduction_of_regional_rugby_union_teams_in_Wales&oldid=953130674, Articles with dead external links from July 2016, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Fed from all North Wales clubs (initially using players from the south), This page was last edited on 25 April 2020, at 21:07. The Regional ‘A’ teams compete in the Celtic Cup. The introduction followed much controversy, as clubs disagreed with the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), the governing body of the sport in Wales, over many issues, including the forming of partnerships, funding levels, loss of status and both the number and locations of regional teams. Since the demise of the Celtic Warriors left the South Wales Valleys, traditionally a heartland of Rugby, without a representative team and that has led to a huge part of the country being left disenfranchised from top level rugby. The structure of the teams had been decided with Cardiff and Llanelli each having a region whilst the remaining 6 clubs each held 50% of a region. All players would be under contract to the Welsh Rugby Union, who would decide which players would play for which region.[3]. [17], Financial stability was one of the motivations for the establishment of the regions, yet the regions have remained financially unstable ever since their establishment as crowds and TV revenue have failed to materialise, with the Celtic Warriors franchise in particular lasting only one year.[18]. RGC 1404 currently play in the Welsh Premiership. Two plans had been drawn up with the partnerships arranged as follows: The clubs were unable to agree on which plan they wished to submit as their preferred alternative to the WRU's provincial system. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By the end of January 2003, six of the nine clubs in the Welsh Premiership agreed on a plan that would see 4 regional franchise, with each club holding 50% of a franchise. North Wales was nominally part of the Scarlets' region at the introduction of regional rugby. Good quality players who played for clubs that failed to qualify for Heineken Cup rugby missed out on the experience of playing in such a tournament.

This may be due to a failure of the regional sides to properly embrace the regional concept, with some being perceived as little more than extensions of former club sides unlikely to gain support among followers of former rivals. However Cardiff RFC and Llanelli RFC were opposed to this structure, stating that it "was not in the best interests of Welsh rugby". Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets compete in the Guinness PRO14, Heineken Champions Cup, Challenge Cup as well as Regional Age Grade and Women’s Regional Age Grade. Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets compete in the Guinness PRO14, Heineken Champions Cup, Challenge Cup as well as Regional Age Grade and Women’s Regional Age Grade. More recently, the Newport Gwent Dragons dropped both of their regional identifiers after the 2016–17 season, becoming simply Dragons. Rugby legend Shane Williams says it was the worst season in the history of regional rugby If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. The brand new Welsh Rugby jersey is on sale now exclusively from the Official Welsh Rugby Store. Six of the clubs that made up the Welsh Premiership suggested that they compete in a reduced size Premier League. Since 2001, all of the teams also competed in the Celtic League competition, a cross-border competition involving Welsh, Scottish and Irish teams. Thus, although not a full-time professional side, RGC 1404 operate as a de facto fifth region: unlike the other teams at their level they are not themselves a feeder club to any of the professional regions. Since the regionalisation of professional Rugby Union in Wales, the national team has undoubtedly experienced great success, winning the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2005, 2008, 2012, and 2019, as well as winning the championship for a fourth time in 2013, with some have attributed this success to the regional concept. [9] The result of the vote was heavily in favour of the changes, with just seven votes against. [1] The top level of Welsh rugby is represented by the regional sides, formed in 2003, who play in the Pro14 League (formerly the Celtic League or Pro12). From this date, Wales was represented by a smaller number of regional teams in both the Celtic League and European Cup competitions, where previously the top club sides were entered into them. This change of identity coincided with the WRU acquiring Newport RFC's 50% stake in the regional side. [16] While average attendances at all the Welsh regions have steadily grown since 2003 and are generally higher than the Scottish and Italian teams with whom they share the Pro14, they are far behind those at the Irish teams and are generally lower than in the English Premiership and French Top 14. Llanelli were keen to stand-alone, citing their previous record in European competition while Neath were reluctant to form a partnership with Swansea, having already agreed in principle to pool resources with Bridgend for European competition.[6]. Supporters of Pontypridd RFC for example may find it difficult to get behind their regional side Cardiff Blues, who share colours, name and a stadium with traditional rivals Cardiff RFC. [20] The WRU stated it would consider setting up new regional teams to play in the Pro12 and European competitions should this happen. Information, fixtures, results, league tables and the latest news for each of our Welsh Rugby Union Regions. [7] Despite Llanelli's intention to pursue legal action against the Union if the plans went ahead,[8] an Extraordinary General Meeting of the WRU was scheduled for 23 February. The proposal of a six club league was agreed with in principle by the WRU management but the WRU membership rejected the proposal. Two representatives from the clubs and two from the WRU would discuss all possible options, including making modifications to the existing club structure, provincial rugby, franchises, superclubs and regional mergers.[1]. As a means to develop rugby in the area, the WRU established RGC 1404 in 2008 as a north Wales representative development side, based in Colwyn Bay. There have been occasional calls to resurrect the franchise or establish a new Valleys professional team as a fifth region.

Information, fixtures, results, league tables and the latest news for each of our Welsh Rugby Union Regions. [11] Three days later, the WRU announced that a consensus had been reached between them and the clubs to implement a five team regional structure. Division Three is split into four: East, South East, South West and West, while Division Four and Division Five are both split into five, East, South East, South West, West and North. competitions. The proposed franchises were: Caerphilly RFC did not oppose the plan, despite not having a role to play in a franchise. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2001/dec/19/rugbyunion.paulrees, "Scarlets launch legal action against WRU | Live Rugby imported (unsorted) | ESPN Scrum", "Rugby Wales hails Six Nations squad as proof of regional rugby's success", "Welsh Rugby Comment: What are the Welsh regions for? [3], List of Welsh rugby union clubs by division, "Official Rules of the Welsh National Leagues", https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/definitive-guide-welsh-rugbys-promotions-16272678, https://www.allwalessport.co.uk/rugby-union.aspx?cid=4983, Snelling Sevens (Welsh seven-a-side tournament), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_Championship, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_Welsh_rugby_union_clubs&oldid=965761106, Lists of sports teams in the United Kingdom, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 3 July 2020, at 07:59.

The Regional ‘A’ teams compete in the Celtic Cup. [19] However, any fifth region would require additional funding or reduce the funding available to the remaining regions from the WRU and TV rights, as well as reducing their number of feeder clubs and potentially drawing away their support. Henry's proposal was for the creation of four sides based in West Wales, South East Wales, the South Wales Valleys and Gwent.

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