The Welsh Rugby Union met Welsh MPs at Westminster today and outlined how a multi-million pound package of new money was central to a new Rugby Services Agreement now being negotiated with the four regions.
WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis explained that negotiations on the new agreement commenced on 6th January, and remain on-going, and informed them that the union will continue to work in partnership with the regions until a full agreement is reached in the best interests of Welsh rugby.
The MPs were told how the WRU had secured the new money through pledges from amongst existing stakeholders.
Outlining the build-up to the current negotiations the MPs were told how existing ERC and Rabodirect competitions were challenged after BT Sport signed a contract last year with English Premiership clubs for a new European tournament.
Later last year the Welsh Regions declared they wanted to join the English clubs and announced they planned to quit the Heineken Cup.
That impasse has formed a backdrop to the discussions about an on-going contract between the Regions and the WRU to replace the Participation Agreement the Regions opted out of last December.
That PA had secured the regions £9m a year in competition money plus £6.6m a year directly from the WRU.
The MPs were told how those payments were secured as the turnover of the WRU had risen since 2006 from £46.1m to £61m.
The increase in turnover has helped reinvestment in Welsh rugby by the WRU, including a rise of 102 per cent into the regional game.
Distributions into the Premiership Division in Wales were up 50 per cent and up 48 per cent into grassroots rugby.
Before the 2009 PA the WRU distributed £3.2m a year into its regions which rose on signing to £6m. It now stands at £6.6m and would have reached £7.6m at the full term of the PA in 2019.
Those figures will rise significantly under the terms of the new Rugby Services Agreement.
The MPs were reminded that grassroots rugby remained a priority and key focus for the WRU.
Last year more than 8,000 rugby matches were organised across the whole of Welsh rugby. Some 46 full time WRU rugby development and rugby participation officers backed by admin staff now focus on community rugby.
More than 2,000 new juniors play the game while 6,500 youngsters aged from 12 to 16 have been to player development events.
The WRU has also safeguarded the regional academies by investing £600k a year.
Roger Lewis said: "We had an extremely positive meeting with the Welsh MPs and were grateful for their invitation to share our views.
"We emphasised that we are working within the constitution of the WRU in the best interests of Welsh rugby at all times.
"Our declared aim is to go forward working together with our four existing regions and we will remain focused on that objective. "
The Half a Game initiative is currently sweeping across Wales and proving a major success. The scheme aims to give every young player at least half a game every weekend. WRU TV recently visited a festival in Narberth where clubs have fully embraced the initiative.
Both Bargoed and Swansea were seeking their first win of the Principality Premiership season this afternoon. It proved a fruitful day for the hosts - not only did they win, but Bargoed claimed a try bonus point.
Cardiff managed to keep their unbeaten record at home intact, but only just as Bridgend made them work extremely hard before the Blue and Blacks secured a hard fought Principality Premiership win at the BT Sport Arms Park last night.
Former Wales back row Andy Powell gives a guided tour of The Wern, home of Merthyr RFC, who are determined to prove a lot of people wrong and make their mark in their first season in the Principality Premiership.
Wales Sevens head coach Gareth Williams looks back on the Rio Sevens success where he helped GB win silver. He believes the successful campaign is a huge boost to his Welsh squad as they prepare for another World Series, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland will be heading back home to take on the All Blacks next year where for him, success for 2017 is all about going to New Zealand and winning a Test Series.
Last week all roads led to Eugene Cross Park where defending champions Ebbw Vale hosted this season's launch of the Principality Premiership. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie was there to capture the thoughts of Damien Hudd, captain of Ebbw Vale, and WRU Head of Performance, Geraint John.
Llandovery made it three in a row when they defeated Aberavon in the final of the National Foster's 7s at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday. On another eventful day of sevens, Newport claimed the Plate and the Dragons won the women's crown
Last week saw Cardiff welcome players from around the world for the 21st Golden Oldies Festival. The tournament features players over 35 years of age, and this year's event saw a select few represent the WRU in a 'friendly' against the Wooden Spoon.
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.
The Wales U18 squad spent an emotional day in the drug-riddled townnship of Hout Bay. Hout Bay Warriors President Fred Johannes said the visit was 'the talk of the town' and will dream about the day everyday for the rest of his life.
RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.