Wales skipper Sam Warburton played his first game since March
Wales and British & Irish Lions skipper Sam Warburton finally got back onto the rugby pitch after injury and contractual difficulties when he played 50 minutes for Cardiff Blues in their 21-17 friendly defeat at Leicester Tigers.
Warburton was joined by new signing Adam Jones in a Blues side that battled back from an early 12-0 deficit to lead 17-12 in the second half against the English giants. But three late penalties from England outside half Freddy Burns wrapped up the game for the home side.
Warburton hadn't played since undergoing surgery after dislocating his shoulder in Wales' 51-3 RBS 6 Nations win over Scotland in March. The on-going impasse between the WRU and the Regions over the signing of the new Rugby Services Agreement meant he wasn't able to play in any of the Blues' earlier friendlies, but Thursday's successful conclusion meant he was able to play at Welford Road.
Tries from new Italian back row recruit Robert Barbieri and England and Lions scrum half Ben Youngs, one of which Burns converted, gave the Tigers their early 12-0 lead. But the Blues hit back with a sniping try from Wales scrum half Lloyd Williams and two Rhys Patchell penalties to make it 12-11 at the break.
Patchell then dropped a goal and kicked a penalty at the start of the second half to hoist the visitors into a 17-12 lead before Burns put the boot in with his hat-trick of late penalties to bag victory in a highly competitive game.
Scorers: Leicester Tigers: Tries: R Barbieri, B Youngs; Con: F Burns; Pens: F Burns 3. Cardiff Blues: Try: L Williams; DG: R Patchell; Pens: R Patchell 3
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'.