Simon Rowe (l) and Mark Rollings (r) have strengthened the Welsh Rugby Union's commercial team
The Welsh Rugby Union has strengthened its commercial team with two new senior appointments in roles aimed at strengthening ties with major corporate stakeholders.
The team has been boosted by the promotion of Simon Rowe to Head of Sponsorship and the new appointment of Sponsorship Account Manager, Mark Rollings.
Simon takes up his new post at the WRU after three-years managing key sponsorship accounts for high profile clients including Under Armour, Thomas Cook Sport, SWALEC and the Principality Building Society.
A fluent French-speaker, he brings over 10 years experience to the role, having previously worked for sports marketing management agency, World in Motion, managing the contracts of professional rugby players in France.
Based at the Union's Millennium Stadium offices, Simon manages a team of three sponsorship specialists charged with delivering the commercial rights of existing WRU partners.
New recruit Mark joins the department from his previous role as Business Development manager for SiteServ. He also brings vast experience working with major commercial brands on a range of mass participation sporting events.
"This is an exciting time for Welsh rugby and I'm really looking forward to leading a team of experienced and dynamic individuals to deliver the contracts of the Welsh Rugby Union's commercial partners, whilst expanding our already fantastic commercial portfolio," said the new Head of Sponsorship.
"Our sponsors are full of passion for Welsh rugby and our account managers know how important it is to retain the key stakeholders that make a huge financial contribution to the development of the game.
"The WRU is a great place to work and with the new energy and experience of the sponsorship team at the moment, I'm sure there are great times ahead for our commercial partners."
The WRU entered the current financial year with renewed deals with Under Armour, SWALEC, Thomas Cook, Guinness, SEAT, Ticketmaster and Trinity Mirror.
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.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.