Celtic Rugby, the organisers of the Magners League, have issued the following statement in regard to the future inclusion of Italian teams in the competition from next season.
"The Board of Celtic Rugby Ltd. are disappointed that it has not proven possible to conclude a satisfactory agreement with the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) that would have seen the addition of two Italian teams into the Magners League in September 2010.
In March 2009 Celtic Rugby agreed in principle to the possible enlargement of the Magners League through the addition of two Italian teams subject to certain conditions being met in terms of commercial, finance, playing standards and playing/spectator facilities.
Celtic Rugby engaged Deloitte to conduct a comprehensive "due diligence" process to satisfy the shareholders and existing Magners League clubs of the feasibility, financial and otherwise of this structural change to the Magners League and in particular to ensure there was no resulting net cost to the existing ten clubs.
Following an extensive process that involved consultations with FIR and its nominated clubs, the existing Magners League participants and Celtic Rugby, Deloitte provided a report to Celtic Rugby in December 2009, clarifying the various parameters that had been met and that would need to be met. Despite extensive discussions between Celtic Rugby and FIR in December and January it has not been possible to reach a satisfactory agreement by the deadline set of end January 2010, clarity being required at this point in order to plan not only the Magners League but also Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup for the 2010/2011 season."
As the countdown continues for RWC2015, Tournament Chief Executive Debbie Jevans visited the Millennium Stadium to discuss preparations for the eight matches and reveal the positive news that 100,000 tickets for games at the home of Welsh rugby have sold in the last seven days.
Jason Harries is targeting a first win on the World Series circuit this season with Wales. The series returns to action this weekend in Dubai where Harries is part of a team hoping to build from its efforts in round one in October.
Wales skipper Jevon Groves says his side have addressed a few points from Gold Coast and aim to 'hit the ground running' in the next two rounds of the World Series, kicking off with this weekend in Dubai before heading off to South Africa next week.
Wales Sevens manager Steff Thomas is hopeful his side can build from a quarter-final spot in the opening round of the World Series in Australia when his side take part in the forthcoming double header in Dubai and South Africa.