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.'
As the countdown continues for RWC2015, Tournament Chief Executive Debbie Jevans visited the Millennium Stadium to discuss preparations for the eight matches and reveal the positive news that 100,000 tickets for games at the home of Welsh rugby have sold in the last seven days.
Jason Harries is targeting a first win on the World Series circuit this season with Wales. The series returns to action this weekend in Dubai where Harries is part of a team hoping to build from its efforts in round one in October.
Wales skipper Jevon Groves says his side have addressed a few points from Gold Coast and aim to 'hit the ground running' in the next two rounds of the World Series, kicking off with this weekend in Dubai before heading off to South Africa next week.
Wales Sevens manager Steff Thomas is hopeful his side can build from a quarter-final spot in the opening round of the World Series in Australia when his side take part in the forthcoming double header in Dubai and South Africa.