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."
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.