The 2015 Rugby World Cup will kick off two years today
Wales head coach Warren Gatland is predicting an exciting two years ahead as the countdown begins to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Rugby's showpiece tournament will kick-off two years today (September 18th) with eight of the competition's matches, including two quarter-finals, to be played at the Millennium Stadium.
It will be the fourth time Cardiff welcomes the Rugby World Cup to Wales after staging matches in 1991, hosting the 1999 tournament and staging four matches during the 2007 competition which was hosted by France. Wales will play two of their pool matches at the Millennium Stadium and Gatland is looking forward to welcoming the World Cup to Wales.
"It's an exciting time with the World Cup just two years away," said Gatland. "There is a lot of rugby to play before but we will be working hard in the build-up as we have some unfinished business in the competition.
"We are in a tough group alongside England and Australia but from our experiences the tougher the better as if you make it out of the group you are in a good position for the knock-out stages. It's fantastic that the Millennium Stadium has eight games and the atmosphere in Cardiff will be great and we are really excited about playing two of our pool games in front of our home supporters."
Welsh Rugby Union Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis said: "The prospect of the Rugby World Cup coming back to the Millennium Stadium is great for Welsh rugby and great for Wales. Wales will have hosted RWC matches more times than any other nation in the rugby world, playing significant parts in 1991, 1999, 2007 and now hosting eight matches, including two quarter-finals, in 2015.
"As well as welcoming Wales for two fixtures, the stadium will be hosting some of the world's other top rugby nations including Australia, New Zealand, France and Ireland. This feast of rugby action will deliver a huge economic boost to Welsh rugby and Wales and allow us to showcase the very best of our nation to the rest of the world.
"It has been an extraordinary year for Welsh rugby and after the success of our Rugby World Cup 2015 bid, which was won after three years of hard work and collaboration with our friends at the Rugby Football Union."
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'.
Defending champions Coleg Sir Gar reached their second consecutive Millennium Stadium final as they defeated Coleg Gwent in the WRU Wednesday Under 18 play-off. Watch highlights of their narrow 10-8 win here.