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.'
Porthcawl recently received a WRU facilities grant and funding from Natwest RugbyForce in order to give their changing rooms a facelift. This came after receiving £10,000 in a WRU facilities grant last year to tarmac their car park. The improvements have already helped to make the club more accessible, not only for their own members and players but for the whole community.
The Welsh Rugby Union has launched a new, accredited Safeguarding and Protecting Children course - funded by the WRU and delivered in partnership with Sport Wales and the NSPCC - fo rugby club volunteers around Wales.
The SWALEC semi-final draws threw up some mouth-watering clashes in the Cup, Plate and Bowl as the 12 teams aim for the Millennium Stadium Finals Day. All the semi-finals are to be played on the weekend of April 12.
Welsh whistler Rhys Thomas continues to scale the heights of the game as he prepares to be an official in this weekend's Hong Kong Sevens tournament, undoubtedly the showpiece event on the World Series calendar.
Wales International Ian Evans and Wales and Lions legend Scott Quinnell swapped rugby balls for paint pots at Tonna during the RBS 6 Nations. They surprised club players with a special clubhouse makeover to launch NatWest RugbyForce 2014 - a programme developed in partnership with the WRU to make rugby clubs stronger businesses by improving and renovating their facilities with the support of volunteers and the local community.
Fresh from claiming the Bowl honours in Tokyo last Sunday, the Wales Sevens squad have settled into their routine as they prepare for this weekend's Hong Kong tournament where Iolo Evans is aiming high, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
The Welsh Rugby Union has recently teamed up with Prostate Cymru to help the charity launch its latest campaign to raise awareness of the disease. Members of the Wales squad helped produce a short video and promotional material for the campaign titled 'The Best Defence - is to know the FACTS'.