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.
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.
The Wales U18 squad spent an emotional day in the drug-riddled townnship of Hout Bay. Hout Bay Warriors President Fred Johannes said the visit was 'the talk of the town' and will dream about the day everyday for the rest of his life.
RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.
A joint venture between the WRU and Admiral saw hundreds of children enjoy the Admiral Festival of Rugby held at the National Centre of Excellence at the weekend where Welsh internationals Sam Warburton, Scott Williams and Rob Evans were in attendance.
Wll Jones leads Wales U18s into battle this afternoon against Italy where the Welsh side will be seeking to bounce back from their narrow defeat to SA Schools in their opening clash of the U19 International Series
All four regions attended a successful training camp staged last weekend at the WRU National Centre of Excellence. It was a chance for new Wales Women's head coach Rowland Phillips to deliver his key messages to players and coaches as he prepares for the new season.
Wales U18 Team Manager Gethin Watts believes the next couple of weeks will be 'extremely beneficial' to the future of Welsh rugby as his side prepare to take part in the Under 19 International Series being staged in South Africa.
The WRU is searching for 12 new rugby development apprentices following a successful first year of its WRU Coach Core programme. Craig Duncan and Jess Hancock have flourished in the first year of the programme which has given them a real direction in their lives.
The WRU signed TV comedian Rhod Gilbert up to a 'Coaching Children Level 1' course before letting him loose on an U8s side at Whitland Junior Borderers - we went behind the scenes to film the making of 'Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience' see the results here.
Llandovery are aiming to make it three titles in a row in this year's Foster's National 7s being held at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday 28 August. Drovers assistant coach Simon Davies and Lee Rees assess their sides chances
A pioneering strength and conditioning programme has been delivered to more than 8000 boys and girls at hub schools throughout Wales this season, helping to develop stronger, more flexible athletes for rugby and other sports.