The 2009/10 Magners League has all the makings of another, all-action Celtic Rugby tournament brimming with matches high in both quality and intensity between the cream of the teams from Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
And the initiative of introducing a play-off system for the four leading sides at the end of the long haul of Magners League matches promises to produce a tremendous climax to the campaign on the last weekend of May.
Celtic Rugby Chairman John Hussey, said: "Next year will bring about the 10th season of Celtic Rugby and perhaps we haven't shouted loud enough about what has happened to rugby since the 2001/2002 campaign kicked-off.
"Our competition is now the playground of the stars of the game in the northern hemisphere - and some of the biggest names in the rugby playing world.
"The Unions have worked hard on developing the tournament, the clubs have spent millions on nurturing new talent and building better facilities and the proposition that is now offered by the Magners League is light years away from where we all started in 2001 - crowds are growing, our TV platform is building and interest in our product is racing ahead."
David Jordan, Director of Celtic Rugby, added: "When you look through the Magners League shop window you will see some of the game's greatest assets. The challenge to us this season is to ensure we make the most of them.
"Rugby in the Celtic Nations has never been on such a high, never enjoyed such success but what makes the 2009/10 season all the more appealing is that we will be ending it on an even bigger high by introducing a play-off system to find our champions.
"What we are looking for is a sell-out occasion at a venue that will deliver a great match-day experience to the players, fans, sponsors and broadcasters. Within 3-5 years I expect this event to have grown sufficiently for us to lead a loyal band of supporters to bigger venues with little or no risk of falling short of expectations.
"The introduction of play-offs will not be the only major change this season and slowly but surely, the Magners League is realising its true potential and it is certainly delivering better players to our international coaches - and hardening the teams for the big cross-border contests in Europe.
"We have a magnificent sponsor in Magners, a host of committed broadcast partners in BBC Wales, S4C and Setanta Ireland, some of the biggest brand names in world club rugby and a growing army of fans.
"The Magners League is a competition that has grown in stature and standard, is growing in credibility and which is ready to move to the next level this season. It is going to be great to watch - with a fantastic finale to come at the end of May."
Michael Merrins, Managing Director, C&C Ireland added: "As Title Sponsors we are delighted by the continued success of the Magners League and await this season with excitement and great anticipation. The introduction of the play-offs is yet another stage in the development of the league and with the calibre of players involved across all 10 teams we look forward to another season of top quality rugby. I would like to wish all the Magners League teams the best of luck for the forthcoming season."
NB. Rights free photography from today's launch is available from INPHO Photography (www.inpho.ie). Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details or call +353 (0)1 676 4604.
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.