Celtic Rugby have released details of fixtures for the 2009/10 Magners League campaign.
The eighteen round regular season starts the first weekend in September and runs through until the weekend of 7 May 2010, however with the introduction this year of play-offs to decide the Magners League Champions, there is the exciting prospect of semi finals to be held over the weekend of 14 May with the season concluding in the first ever Magners League final the weekend of 28 May.
Current champions Munster start the defence of their title with a trip to Scotland to face Glasgow Warriors at Firhill Arena, whilst European champions, Leinster, also start their campaign on the road with a visit to Llanelli to face the Scarlets.
Elsewhere in Wales Anglo-Welsh cup holders, Cardiff Blues, welcome Edinburgh for the opening match in their new home at Cardiff City Stadium, whilst the visit of Ulster to Rodney Parade and Ospreys game against Connacht make up the rest of the fixtures for the opening round.
These fixtures are weekend only dates; specific dates, kick-off times and in some cases venues, will be released later after consultations with broadcast partners and the individual teams.
See http://www.magnersleague.com/matchcentre/fixtures_list.php for details
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.