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.
The second WRU disability rugby pilot has been delivered, this time in Caerphilly schools, culminating in a festival at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach tomorrow. Plans are in place to set up a Disability Rugby Club in Newbridge to provide long-term playing opportunities.
Girls in North Wales have two great rugby role models in WRU Regional Coordinator Rachel Taylor and Rhyl High School Hub Officer Ale Lewis, both helping to increase opportunities for women and girls in Welsh rugby.
In this weeks podcast, Bargoed captain Leigh Meades and Swansea head coach Richard Lancaster chat to WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie who hears that both camps are determined to move up the Principality Premiership table.
One of the newest members of the Principality Premiership, Bargoed admit it's proving to be a steep learning curve at the highest level, but are determined to become a force to be reckoned with. WRU TV visited the club last weekend when they took on Llanelli.
This week on the Pick and Go Podcast, WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie is joined by South Wales Argus rugby writer Chris Kirwan to preview this weekend's Principality Premiership action. Aberavon winger Steffan Andrews also makes an appearance.
Table-topping Aberavon travel to north Wales to tackle RGC 1404 as both teams defend unbeaten starts to the season in the Principality Premiership. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie visited the Wizards to see how their preparations were going for the game of the weekend.
This week in the Principality Premiership, all roads lead to the new pitch at Sardis Road where Pontypridd take on Merthyr in the most highly anticipated game of the season. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie previews the big clash, along with all the other Premiership games this weekend, with guest Ioan Dyer.
The Half a Game initiative is currently sweeping across Wales and proving a major success. The scheme aims to give every young player at least half a game every weekend. WRU TV recently visited a festival in Narberth where clubs have fully embraced the initiative.
Both Bargoed and Swansea were seeking their first win of the Principality Premiership season this afternoon. It proved a fruitful day for the hosts - not only did they win, but Bargoed claimed a try bonus point.
Cardiff managed to keep their unbeaten record at home intact, but only just as Bridgend made them work extremely hard before the Blue and Blacks secured a hard fought Principality Premiership win at the BT Sport Arms Park last night.
Former Wales back row Andy Powell gives a guided tour of The Wern, home of Merthyr RFC, who are determined to prove a lot of people wrong and make their mark in their first season in the Principality Premiership.
The race for a top half finish in the new look Principality Premiership is set for a dramatic finish over the Christmas and New Year period with only three of the 16 clubs definitely ruled out of the reckoning.
The Welsh Rugby Union is calling on all grassroots clubs to nominate a club integrity officer who will be invited to anti-doping awareness workshops and receive information in order to educate their players and coaches