The Welsh Rugby Union has made an offer to all secondary schools in Wales to part fund a full-time School Rugby Officer dedicated to the provision of rugby to boys and girls of all ages and abilities within the school.
In addition, the WRU will facilitate the schools' competition structure, with the introduction of Regional Schools Leagues to underpin the hugely successful and high profile WRU Under 18 Wednesday League. The Union will also provide supporting resource, deliver consistent Continued Professional Development and offer coach development advice to the appointed Schools Rugby Officers.
Since making the provisional offer last week, the WRU has received positive feedback from many schools and over 40 schools have already made an expression of interest in taking up the offer.
WRU Head of Rugby Josh Lewsey said: "The aim of the WRU School Partnership Initiative is to have a profound effect on Welsh society through the medium of its national sport. The values that are intrinsic to rugby, such as teamwork, respect and discipline help to support the development of 'good citizens' as well as supporting young people in achieving within a school environment.
"Evidence clearly demonstrates that delivering effective rugby programmes with dedicated staff can make a real difference to pupils' academic success as well as developing good and healthy citizens. This initiative also simultaneously delivers the WRU's aims with regards to both Elite and Community Rugby."
In addition to delivering rugby options throughout the school, the Rugby Officer will also be tasked with the transfer, communication and interface with local clubs. The WRU will oversee and reinforce this process, as it is vitally important to maintain the good habits fostered in a disciplined environment and also retain participants in the game for the long term benefit of our communities.
There are many examples where our existing schools programmes have been directly attributed with the "cultural and academic turnaround" of a school's performance. At Newport High School, where the school part funded the employment of Dai Flanagan as its Rugby Programme Coordinator, the consequences have been astounding.
Nathan Williams, Deputy Head at the school said, "The pupils on the rugby programme have become role models for all the other children. A few years ago, we struggled to get teams together in some year groups but some evenings now we have several hundred pupils taking part in various sports after school.
"From an academic point of view, we know that a third of our senior team players wouldn't have continued in education without the rugby programme we offer. Now, they will go on to have a career as they have had a good educational grounding along with specialist support for their rugby development."
Cowbridge Comprehensive School head teacher Debra Thomas, who has Matt Silva WRU development officer on secondment as their Rugby Coordinator said: "The initiative has been a resounding success for us and the appointment of a dedicated rugby coordinator has been key to that success. The 'academy' brings a sense of excitement to the school and adds a positive dimension to sport and fitness across the school."
Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera appointed a Director of Rugby last September as part of their WRU School of Rugby status, and the school has already reaped the benefit.
Head Teacher Matthew Evans said: "As a school we have seen the real value of this rugby pilot in developing the self-confidence of boys and girls in rugby, but it also contributes towards their confidence within the whole school community as they contribute to extra-curricular activity.
"It has helped develop skills in the Welsh language and enhanced pupils' progress in their academic and vocational courses. Simply and succinctly, developing an individual's skills in one area can have a transformational impact on that pupil's attitude towards their school, their education and their personal development."
The WRU funding and appointment of individuals will be subject to schools agreeing to and meeting a set of strict criteria and targets relating to areas such as participation levels; performance and development standards; facilities, and the liaison with local clubs.
On the day the Wales U20 squad for the Six Nations is revealed, WRU Head of Rugby Performance Geraint John discusses the priorities of the Wales U20 programme, and moves being undertaken to make it easier for Welsh Exiles to be part of the WRU pathway - and to help keep Welsh qualified players in Wales
It was a double celebration for Wales and Ospreys scrum-half Rhys Webb when he called at the home of Welsh rugby to help commemorate the first anniversary of Principality Stadium and his return to fitness this weekend ahead of the RBS 6 Nations.
Prior to their departure to Wellington for the next leg of the World Series, Wales trained with England and Ireland. WRU TV caught up with Owen Jenkins who revealed the 'buzzword' which is driving the Wales squad on.
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.