The Welsh Rugby Union is pleased to announce that, following a meeting in Cardiff today (Thursday), two more of the four Welsh Regions have formally agreed to sign the all important Participation Agreement.
The Participation Agreement establishes the terms of reference and relationship the Regions have with the governing body of the game in Wales and the tournaments in which they play.
The Neath-Swansea Ospreys where the first of the four Regions to sign up to new agreement, which is binding for five years and has a further five year option clause, and today the chief executives of both Cardiff Blues, Robert Norster, and Llanelli Scarlets, Stuart Gallacher, agreed terms.
As a result of the Blues and Scarlets guaranteeing they will sign the agreement on Friday, the WRU has now released funds to each of these Regions. Newport-Gwent Dragons chief executive Andy Marinos attended the meeting today, but the Dragons the only Region yet to agree terms.
Although the WRU holds a fifty per cent stake in the Dragons, its officers have been excluded from discussions on this all important subject in order to ensure autonomy within the Region. However, it has once again been pointed out to the Dragons that stand alone status is not up for discussion.
WRU Group Chief Executive David Moffett and WRU General Manager Steve Lewis have offered to meet with Dragons directors Tony Brown and Martyn Hazell to further discuss their position and remain hopeful of reaching an agreement with the Dragons in the very near future.
The winners of a filmmaking competition organised by the education charity Into Film and the WRU enjoyed a behind the scenes tour of the Millennium Stadium - and a chance to be photographed with the WRU's fire-breathing, rugby loving mascot, Scorch The Dragon, and Welsh international, Jake Ball.
The Wales Under 20 camp are in a quietly confident mood as they face Ireland in the U20 Championship, with Coaching Co-Ordinator Allan Lewis and full back Dafydd Howells targeting a top five finish in the tournament.
Wales U20 may start as favourites against Japan this evening in the U20 Championship, but Team Manager Mark Taylor is warning against complacency. He is also hoping a good win will boost morale and 'kickstart' performances.
Coach Richard Hodges is hoping Wales U20 can put a disappointing campaign behind them when they tackle Japan tomorrow as they look to finish the U20 Championship strongly to secure a good seeding for next year's tournament.