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. "
Wales head coach Rob Howley explains his decision to change the captaincy of the national side with Ospreys second row Alun Wyn Jones taking over from Sam Warburton for the forthcoming RBS 6 Nations. Howley is hoping his decision will allow Warburton to rediscover his 'mojo'.
How do you follow a dancing hippopotamus - the Ospreys wheelchair rugby team has just the 'oneness' to do it say the BBC! For a decade the sight of a herd of hippos synchronised swimming around their own private blue lagoon, has lit up our television screens at regular intervals between favourite BBC One shows. But now the nation's most watched channel has relinquished its famous amphibious mammals in favour of a new show-reel which includes the Ospreys wheelchair rugby team.
Head coach Rowland Phillips and key front rower Carys Phillips look ahead to games against Spain and Ireland as Wales Women ramp up their preparations for the forthcoming Six Nations. The two warm-up games are a 'massive opportunity to refine the squad' according to the Welsh camp.
Martyn Phillips has discussed details of the newly published 'Strategy for Welsh Rugby' which puts in black and white terms the plans and direction of the governing body of the national sport in Wales for the next decade.
WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips has urged Welsh rugby fans to follow in the footsteps of their soccer counterparts at last summer's Euro Championship by backing their team to the hilt in the upcoming RBS 6 Nations campaign.
Chief executive Martyn Phillips has highlighted the plans for Wales to become a breeding ground for national and elite club rugby coaches, which are contained in the WRU's 10-year 'Strategy for Welsh Rugby'.
Andrew Coombs is enjoying his new role as Nelson forwards coach. The former Dragons and Wales lock has big ambitions to become a professional coach but feels it's important to learn the ropes in grassroots rugby and where better than his home club Nelson, with friends and family close to hand.
Students at Brynllywarch Hall School, near Newtown, have transformed their own lives, and are now having a positive impact on others through rugby. The sport has had a life-changing effect on the well-being of the students who are now delivering rugby sessions to local primary schools and playing for a new mixed ability side
Wales reached their first semi-final since 2013 in the opening round of this season's HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie recaps on what proved to be an eventful tournament
Wales and Ospreys back row James King, who came through the North Wales age grade system, nominated North Wales Regional Community Rugby Manager Marc Roberts, in the WRU's 'Diolch' initiative where squad players thanked those who played a part in their rise to the top.
Beating Merthyr has boosted Carmarthen Quins hopes of reaching a top eight spot in the Principality Premiership. Quins captain Haydn Pugh is delighted with his team's progress and is determined that everyone from the Under 6s through to the senior team, enjoys the ride.
When the Wales squad were asked to nominate individuals who played a big part in their early playing days, Wales and Dragons full back and wing Hallam Amos thought of his former Monmouth School rugby coach John Bevan.
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.