A unique gathering of more than 70 former Welsh international rugby players took place at the Millennium Stadium today (Thursday, 6 November).
The legendary figures of Welsh rugby were invited to the stadium to watch Warren Gatland's team make their final preparations for the Prince William Cup clash with South Africa on Saturday.
Every living Welsh international was invited to a special lunch at the Millennium Stadium as part of a series of events organised by the WRU for former internationals. The Union is hoping to create a full database of everyone who has played for Wales with details of where they now live.
To date, the whereabouts of just over 50 former international players are being sought by the WRU. It is vitally important for the Union to establish contact details for the players because in April there will be a family day at the Millennium Stadium for all ex-internationals and their relatives.
Twenty six British & Irish Lions were in attendance at the event, stretching from Jack Matthews and Bleddyn Williams in 1950 to Ieuan Evans in 1997.
Two Lions tour managers were present - Clive Rowlands from 1989 and the 2009 tour manager Gerald Davies.
Sixteen former captains of Wales and four former Wales coaches (Clive Rowlands, John Dawes, John Lloyd and Ron Waldron) were present, with players from every decade from the Forties on the guest list. Bleddyn Williams was captain of the last Wales team to beat the All Blacks in 1953.
There were 12 players who played a part in the Grand Slam campaigns of 1950, 1971, 1976 and 1978 and three members of Wales' 50 cap club - JPR Williams, Ieuan Evans and Garin Jenkins.
Seven players present were part of the Welsh Rugby World Cup squad that finished third in the inaugural event in 1987 - Anthony Buchanan, Malcolm Dacey, Ieuan Evans, Ray Giles, Paul Thorburn, Mark Titley and Adrian Hadley, while Peter Rogers and Garin Jenkins were part of the Wales side that beat South Africa in the inaugural match of the Millennium Stadium in 1999. Current Wales coaches Neil Jenkins and Rob Howley were also part of that side and were at the Millennium Stadium today for Wales team training.
The WRU has recently developed a 'Heritage Range' of merchandise exclusively available for capped players, which includes a unique cap box, a new international player's tie and cufflinks made by Welsh gold experts, Clogau.
To launch the range, a set of the Clogau cufflinks and a cap box will be presented to Gareth Edwards and Gareth Thomas at the pre-match function ahead of the Wales v South Africa match on Saturday. Edwards was the first player to reach 50 caps for his country, while Thomas became the first centurion.
The British & Irish Cup kicks off this weekend with the four Regional Premiership Select XVs flying the flag for Wales. Welsh
Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
Sun 15 Nov: Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Premiership Select (1.30) & Scarlets v Bedford Blues (3.00)
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.