A new national league structure for Welsh rugby has been confirmed for next season after a ballot of clubs saw a significant majority vote to adopt the new format.
The Board of the Welsh Rugby Union formally approved the new plan for the SWALEC Leagues after reviewing the feedback they had called for after the issue was debated by clubs at an Extraordinary General Meeting.
At the EGM earlier this month a cross section of views had been expressed about the new structure which had originally been approved with the details sent out to clubs in August 2013.
In the ballot 70% of clubs or affiliated organisations responded with votes for or against and 61% of those voted to approve the new league structure.
The progress of the new league format will be monitored throughout season 2014/15 by a WRU working group and reviewed in May 2015.
An Appeals Panel, with an independent and legally qualified chair, is being established and is considering appeals from individual clubs related to their league placings in the new structure.
The new leagues were established after a working party was set up to review the league format following initial feedback from the WRU Club Census of 2012.
The principal issues raised then by clubs were the distances travelled to fulfil fixtures and the related costs.
Contrary views related to the new structure were expressed after the original decision to adopt the new format was communicated to clubs in 2013.
At the recent EGM it was agreed that a ballot should take place and its findings put before the WRU Board before any decision to confirm the adoption of the new league was taken.
The deadline for clubs to contact the Appeals Panel is Friday 4th July 2014.
Christmas has come early at Glynneath rugby club, one of a number around Wales who have received an array of merchandise and equipment this December courtesy of the Welsh Rugby Union's £750,000 participation points scheme.
The WRU have been delivering on the scheme - which gives individual clubs access to up to £5,000 worth of supplies and equipment each for the 2014/2015 season - over the last two weeks and today (Friday) were received by a special guest in Glynneath, club president and pitch marker Max Boyce.
The Welsh Rugby Union has signed a new four year deal with specialist equipment supplier Rhino Rugby, which is set to benefit both the grass roots game in Wales and the national squad in equal measure.
We watch the new grass growing and being stitched together in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We speak to Millennium Stadium groundsman Lee Evans, Wales great Ieuan Evans gives an overview on the new strategy announced by head of rugby Josh Lewsey, while we also hear from Bedwas, Aberavon and Carmarthen Quins in the Principality Premiership.
Wales assistant coach Rob Howley was welcomed with open arms by the staff and players at Crymych recently when he hosted a training session in memory of former club captain and coach, Glyndwr Richards.
We hear about the WRU's annual report and some exciting new plans for schools and clubs round Wales in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. WRU finance director Steve Phillips explains the money side, while head of rugby Josh Lewsey explains his new strategy for schools and clubs. We also get reaction from all round Wales.
The Welsh Rugby Union has launched a nationwide education programme, to help all involved in the game to recognise and remove' players with concussion. Wales, Racing Metro and Lions centre Jamie Roberts Wales assistant coach Rob Howley, WRU Head of Rugby Josh Lewsey and representatives of grassroots clubs in Wales who helped finalise the policy. We also hear from WRU National Medical Manager Prav Mathema, plus Llanelli and Cardiff in the Principality Premiership.
The Welsh Rugby Union has launched a nationwide education programme, to help all involved in the game to recognise and remove' players with concussion. Wales, Racing Metro and Lions centre Jamie Roberts took time out of his club commitments to raise the profile of the campaign launch held at Pontyclun Rugby Club.
The Welsh Rugby Union has launched a nationwide education programme, to help all involved in the game to recognise and remove' players with concussion. Interview with WRU National Medical Manager Prav Mathema.
This week on the Principality Premiership Podcast, WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie talks to Carmarthen Quins head coach Louie Tonkin who is aiming to close the gap on leading duo, Pontypridd and Ebbw Vale, with victory against Bridgend tomorrow.