Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Roger Lewis today welcomed the dawn of a 'new era' for rugby's premier professional club competition in Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales alongside the announcement of the new GUINNESS PRO12 fixtures.
The PRO12 has gone from strength to strength in recent years and has a vibrant future ahead of it and this new association with Guinness really feels like it signifies the dawn of a new and dynamic era for the competition.
Guinness was confirmed this morning as the new title sponsor for the competition which kicks off for 2014/2015 in the first weekend of September with the Scarlets hosting Ulster at Parc y Scarlets, the Ospreys facing Benetton Treviso at the Liberty Stadium and both the Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons on the road - to Zebre and Connacht Rugby respectively.
"The news that Guinness are on board as the new title sponsors of the GUINNESS PRO12 will be universally welcomed by everyone involved with the competition," said Mr Lewis.
"To have attracted the sponsorship of such a major blue chip brand reflects the innate value of the competition and is also testament to the hard work and dedication of the PRO12 executive. The commercial team at the PRO12 must be applauded for having secured such a heavy-weight of the international business world as a commercial partner.
"The PRO12 has gone from strength to strength in recent years and has a vibrant future ahead of it and this new association with Guinness really feels like it signifies the dawn of a new and dynamic era for the competition."
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'.