Mike Jefferies, a lawyer who played a powerful and leading role within the administration of Welsh rugby as Head of Legal Affairs for the WRU, has died after recently being diagnosed with cancer. He was 61.
He had worked closely with the WRU as a legal advisor for many years before joining the union full time as part of the senior management team in 2007.
Mike Jefferies offered advice and guidance to senior WRU executive officers during some of the most high profile issues and changes within Welsh rugby for more than two decades.
He was renowned for his depth of legal knowledge and ability to offer sound and statesmanlike advice combined with a passionate interest in the game.
Before joining the WRU he was a partner with the law firm Hugh James in Cardiff where one of his most high profile projects was overseeing the legal detail of the contract to fund and complete the building of the Millennium Stadium.
In his role at the WRU, as well as being Head of Legal Affairs, he joined the Executive Board as Company Secretary.
Mike Jefferies lived in Cardiff with his wife, Catrin, and they both shared a deep interest in supporting the game at Principality Premiership Division, Regional and international level. They were debenture seat holders at the Millennium Stadium and season ticket holders for the Cardiff Blues.
The WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis, said:"We have lost a great friend and a fine colleague who made an enormous contribution to Welsh rugby down the years.
"He was undoubtedly one of the key figures in the administration of the game and his sound and expert advice was vitally important in shaping our strategies and professional relationships.
"Since joining the Union, as Head of Legal Affairs, it is fair to say he has helped the organisation make enormous strides in realising the importance of up to date procedure within corporate responsibility.
"Mike was a quiet and unassuming colleague whose courteous demeanour and total commitment to hard work and professionalism was complemented by a great intelligence and subtle sense of humour.
"He never raised his voice, but could make a colossal impact on any debate with just a few well chosen words. I will personally miss his wise counsel and friendship enormously and I offer my deepest condolences to his wife, Catrin."
The Chairman of the WRU, David Pickering, said:"We have lost an excellent colleague and a true friend.
"Mike was totally professional at all times and his input was enhanced by his total commitment and loyalty to Welsh rugby.
"I know my colleagues on the Board of the Welsh Rugby Union and everyone who knew Mike across the game, will all want me to add their condolences to the many expressions of sorrow we have received.
"The value of his contribution is that he made a genuine difference with his wise and professional advice. He has left an important legacy within the structures and systems which administer our national sport."
The President of the Welsh Rugby Union, Dennis Gethin, added:"Mike was a highly professional and intelligent individual who was also an extremely caring and courteous man.
"His contribution to Welsh Rugby may have been out of sight of the public gaze but that in no way diminishes its importance. He was a vital cog in the administrative machine which has governed and shaped our game from its amateur days into the professional era. He will be sadly missed."
Gareth Williams, senior partner of Hugh James, added:"Mike was one of the finest solicitors of his generation in South Wales. He was extraordinarily hard working and wholly committed to his clients. He was a brilliant lawyer and a man of great integrity. But more than that, he was also a wise, kind and generous man, as his many friends and colleagues will testify."
Mike Jefferies was born in Crickhowell and educated at King Henry VIII school in Abergavenny before studying law at University College London.
He joined the Hugh James law firm in 1969 and became a partner in 1972 as soon as he qualified as a solicitor.
During his legal career he featured in both the Legal 500 and the Chambers Guide to the legal profession.
During his career at Hugh James his clients included the University of Aberystwyth, Glamorgan County Cricket Club, Welsh Water Dwr Cymru, The Environment Agency and Cardiff council.
He also enjoyed more than 30 years as a supporter and member of the Cardiff Athletic Club.
Mike Jefferies, who died on Sunday, August the 30th, 2009 is survived by his wife, Catrin.
His funeral service will take place at 3pm at the St Denys Church in Lisvane, Cardiff on Friday September 11 and then at Thornhill Crematorium in Cardiff at 4.15pm.
Principality Stadium will host the UEFA Champions League Final in six weeks' time. WRU chairman Gareth Davies, Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford and Ambassador Ian Rush joined young sports fans at the trophy arrival at the venue to celebrate the magnitude of the event on Saturday 3rd June (kick-off 19.45).
British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton is looking forward to bringing together players from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales for the biggest challenge of their careers - a series against world champions, New Zealand.
For the fifth year running, Wales referee Nigel Owens will be in charge of proceedings at Judgement Day V at Principality Stadium. It promises to be 'extra special' for the Wales' favourite ref, as he will be making his 150th appearance in the league.
There will be no shortage of inside knowledge from Bowl Finalists Caerphilly and Amman United when they face each other on Sunday at National Finals Day. Caerphilly hooker Rhys Cleverly knows the Principality Stadium pitch better than most as a matchday groundsman, while Amman United can look to Wales' record try scorer Shane Williams for some helpful advice.
Two hundred and 40 teams competed in the inaugural Urdd WRU 7s held at Pencoed last week with Welsh internationals Steff Andrews and Jasmine Joyce impressed with the talent on display, as was Urdd chief executive, Sioned Hughes.
The countdown is on for Judgement Day V as tickets for the big day at Principality Stadium soar through the 50,000 mark. Players and coaches alike are bursting at the seams to play in the double header with Dragons coach Kingsley Jones claiming there is a 'real buzz' about the event.
WRU TV went behind the scenes when the four regions got together to test their skill set for the BBC's Scrum V Live rugby show, at the WRU National Centre of Excellene in the build up to Judgement Day V. Blues' Matthew Morgan was one of the stars of the show while the Dragons' Cory Hill proved a surprise package...the full set of results will be revealed on tv screens on matchday
Wales assistant coach Richie Pugh is confident his side can cause a few headaches in the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend. In a tough group, Wales kick off their campaign against New Zealand on Friday before playing Japan and Fiji, who are chasing their third consecutive Hong Kong title, on Saturday.
Bedwas had to overcome a stubborn Carmarthen Quins side before winning the Foster's Challenge Cup final in Bridgend with a 23-18 victory. Bedwas captain Nicky Griffiths pays tribute to his side who have claimed the club's first piece of silverware in the modern era.
Team coach Brett Davey is aiming to keep his unbeaten run in cup finals at Principality Stadium intact when his side take on Amman United in the WRU Bowl final, after he guided Caerphilly to a 20-14 win against Cilfynydd in the semi-finals.
Penallta are hoping to go one step further than last season when falling to Bedlinog in the WRU Plate Final. After a titanic struggle against Nant Conwy, they have given themselves a great chance, after a hard fought 18-13 semi-final victory.