WRU Chairman David Pickering is eagerly awaiting this year's RBS 6 Nations championship.
Six Nations Council chairman David Pickering has hailed the tournament as the most eagerly awaited event in the rugby calendar.
He predicted that this year's competition will boast an added dimension as players compete for places in the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa in the summer.
David Pickering, who is also chairman of the Welsh Rugby Union, was speaking at the London media launch of the tournament which was attended by captains and coaches of all the competing Nations.
He said:"The sheer excitement of the tournament and the unpredictability of the results of the game have justifiably made the RBS 6 Nations the most eagerly awaited event in the calendar of rugby.
"Perhaps this year for many British players there is the extra opportunity to stake a claim to join Ian McGeechan and Gerald Davies on the Lions tour at the end of the campaign."
He told journalists gathered for the launch at London's Hurlingham Club that the tournament had developed and grown over the past decade.
He explained:"We have, over the last ten years, in a progressive way, developed through the introduction of staggered kick-off times, Sunday games, Super Saturday and this year we will see the introduction of Friday night internationals when Wales take on France in Paris.
"We are confident that when we review this experiment it will again prove to strengthen the appeal of the tournament."
He said TV audiences had grown from an average peak viewing figure of 3.9 million per game in 2003 to six million in 2008 on the BBC alone.
He announced the renewal of TV contracts with the BBC in the UK and with France Television in France. Figures released by the RBS Six Nations Council show that the combined economic impact of the tournament is £393,4 million. The championship annually sustains 2,720 full time and 22,000 part time jobs.
More than 4,500 local rugby clubs, comprised of nearly one million members, have access to the funds provided by the RBS sponsorship through their respective national rugby unions including the WRU.
Despite drawing with Ireland in the opening round of the RBS 6 Nations, Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards believes the championship 'is still in our hands' as he prepares his side to face Scotland at Principality Stadium tomorrow.
Meet the members of the WRU's inaugural Youth Board - after an online selection process which saw a host of high calibre candidates submit video applications the WRU has made its first 15 appointments.The board is made up of individuals aged between 16 and 21, and will meet for the first time at Principality Stadium on Monday 15th February.
The Wales Women's team headed to Dare Valley Country Park on a team bonding exercise as the entire squad got together for the very first time in preparation for this season's Six Nations championship which kicks off on Saturday with a clash against defending champions Ireland, in Donnybrook.
Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland discusses his team selection for the opening round of the RBS 6 Nations where he leads his side against Ireland, on Sunday. As WRU TV's Luke Brodley discovers, Gatland is fully aware of the challenges the defending champions pose