The 2010 RBS 6 Nations Championship fixtures make pleasant reading for Welsh Rugby Union and Six Nations Chairman David Pickering, who says the Friday night clash with France will have positive repercussions throughout the game in Wales.
"Wales is delighted to be involved in the ongoing experiment in the fixture schedule which means we accommodate France at the Millennium Stadium on Friday 26th February at 8pm," said Pickering.
"The match in Paris last year generated the biggest TV audience for a game in France at an average audience of 5.9m and TV audiences throughout the UK, Ireland and Italy where the second largest of all the fifteen tournament games, at 11m.
"We had a sell-out Stade de France crowd, a tremendous atmosphere and produced one of the best matches of the tournament for the neutral.
"In Wales we would obviously like to reverse the result next year, but we are very much looking forward to what should be a great night out in Cardiff for the fans, a bumper TV audience and a magnificent atmosphere for the players within the confines of the Millennium Stadium.
"Our own rugby clubs, with Cross Keys RFC being a prime example, have reported a genuine positive impact from the Friday night fixture with club-houses around Wales full to the rafters and record takings being reported in the bars.
"The practice will be reviewed after the two-year period agreed by the Six Nations Board and properly evaluated, but we are starting to see genuine reasons for saying the experiment is a successful one.
"The new TV deal itself has provided a welcome boost to WRU coffers and it must be noted that Wales has not had a home Sunday fixture to contend with for three seasons now.
"The schedule always throws up individual difficulties for every team and all sides have different elements to cope with in a season, but we are embracing Friday nights and the commercial impact for us has already been rewarding."
RBS 6 Nations Championship 2010 Fixture Schedule
(ALL TIMES GMT)
Saturday 6th February
14:30 - Ireland v Italy
17:00 - England v Wales
Sunday 7th February
15:00 - Scotland v France
Saturday 13th February
14:00 - Wales v Scotland
16:30 (17:30 local) - France v Ireland
Sunday 14th February
14.30 (15:30 local) - Italy v England
20/21 February - Rest Weekend
Friday 26th February
20:00 - Wales v France
Saturday 27th February
13:30 (14:30 local) - Italy v Scotland
16:00 - England v Ireland
6/7 March - Rest Weekend
Saturday 13th March
14:30 - Ireland v Wales
17:00 - Scotland v England
Sunday 14th March
14:30 (15.30 local) - France v Italy
Saturday 20th March
14:30 - Wales v Italy
17:00 - Ireland v Scotland
19:45 (20:45 local) - France v England
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'.