Following the ERC board meeting last week when five Welsh teams were accepted to take part in ERC tournaments in the 2003/04 season, the Board met again in Dublin last night (8th April) to resolve the situation regarding Welsh participation in the Heineken Cup and PARKER PEN CHALLENGE CUP.
There was unanimous support from the Board of ERC for Welsh rugby as it goes through a transition period. The Board agreed that all five teams established under the restructuring of Welsh Professional rugby would play in the 2003/2004 Heineken Cup tournament. However, from the season 2004/2005, Wales will be represented by four teams in the Heineken Cup and one in the PARKER PEN CHALLENGE CUP. This is to comply with the wishes of the Board that all Shareholder countries are represented in the PARKER PEN CHALLENGE CUP.
ERC Chief Executive, Derek McGrath stated, 'As the Board has resolved participation for the 2003/04 Heineken Cup, we can now begin the process of incorporating the impact of these decisions to the Long Form Agreement between the parties. In addition, the Board can now commence work on the format of the PARKER PEN CHALLENGE CUP taking into account that there will be no Welsh participation in next year's tournaments.'
The Wales Women's team headed to Dare Valley Country Park on a team bonding exercise as the entire squad got together for the very first time in preparation for this season's Six Nations championship which kicks off on Saturday with a clash against defending champions Ireland, in Donnybrook.
Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland discusses his team selection for the opening round of the RBS 6 Nations where he leads his side against Ireland, on Sunday. As WRU TV's Luke Brodley discovers, Gatland is fully aware of the challenges the defending champions pose
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