Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Roger Lewis today welcomed the notion that Italy could join Wales, Ireland and Scotland in the Magners League in season 2010/2011.
Lewis, responding to an official statement released by chairman of Celtic Rugby John Hussey, confirmed that Italy has been invited to supply two teams to the tournament on the proviso that a number of conditions can be satisfied.
"This is an exciting prospect for fans and players alike, but there are a number of issues to be resolved first," said Mr Lewis. "Who wouldn't look forward to a visit to Rome with say the Cardiff Blues for example or the chance to take in the sights in Venice with a team based in the North of Italy, the perfect place where the real rugby heartland is?
"But conditions will have to be met in terms of players, facilities, finances and from a commercial point of view and in terms of TV coverage. Italy are up for it and we will all give it our best shot, but we must ensure the idea is sustainable in both rugby and financial terms.
"We have asked some questions of Italy and will expect to have answers certainly by early December and the beginning of January, but we are not standing still and we are already talking to TV colleagues in Italy to make this work for everyone."
The statement issued by the Celtic Rugby Board this morning confirms 'it has advised the FIR that they have agreed in principle to invite two Italian teams to join the Magners League in season 2010/2011 subject to a number of conditions being met.'
The statement continues: 'These conditions, which will be clearly defined, fall under main headings of Playing and Facility standards, Finance and Commercial including Television. This will be a comprehensive process and will take some time. The Board therefore decided that participation could not commence before 2010/2011 season.
The Magners League is one of the top professional rugby union tournaments in the world. The quality of the Magners League is demonstrated by the fact that in the deciding Six Nations match between Wales and Ireland no less than 42 out of the 44 players that took part in that historic match play their rugby in the Magners League.
Four of this season's Heineken Cup quarterfinalists are Magners League teams. It is essential that any changes to the structure of this great competition maintain the highest standards.'
Wales U20 duo Leon Brown and Lloyd Lewis face a busy couple of weeks ahead. Not only will they have a Junior World Championship to take part in, they are both sitting A Level exams during the competition.
Wales U20 face a tough group in the Junior World Championship with France, England and Japan lying in wait but Attack coach Jason Strange and back rower Tom Phillips are looking forward to the campaign ahead.
Angus O'Brien has quickly settled into the Wales Sevens squad after solid performances in Hong Kong and Japan. With two rounds remaining in Glasgow and Twickenham on the World Series, WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie chats to the rising star.
Wales winger Luke Morgan has established himself as one of the deadliest finishers on the Sevens World Series. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie catches up with him on the eve of this weekend's round in Glasgow.
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.