WRU chairman David Pickering has praised the hard work and vision of former WRU and IRB chairman, the late Vernon Pugh, in Rugby Sevens being recommended for inclusion in the Olympic Games.
Pugh was the first permanent IRB chairman and from his appointment to the game's governing body in 1994, the march towards Olympic recognition began in earnest, after fellow Welshman, the then IRB secretary Keith Rowlands had begun the process of reuniting Rugby with the Olympic movement (Rugby was last an Olympic sport in the 1924 Olympic Games) by holding a series of informal meetings with the British Olympic Association Secretary, Dick Palmer.
A significant step in the process of acceptance back into the Olympic Movement was achieved at a ceremony held in Cardiff in November 1994, when the IRB was officially confirmed as a Recognised International Federation of the IOC. At that ceremony, International Olympic Committee President, Juan-Antonio Samaranch, pointed out that rugby's history and values were very much in tune with the Olympic philosophy and traditions. This historic meeting in Cardiff led to IRB representation at annual IOC meetings and consideration for inclusion in the programme of future Olympic Games.
Pickering said, "Vernon Pugh was the main instigator in driving IRB policy towards inclusion in the Olympic Games, it was part of his vision to expand rugby's reach as a world game and that vision now looks like it will become a reality in October when the IOC Congress will vote on the Council's recommendations to include Rugby Sevens in the Games.
"Rugby entering the Olympics will be the fruition of Vernon's dream and while it is sad that he didn't live to see the dream becoming reality, I'm sure the news will bring some solace to Vernon's family.
"Keith Rowlands was another Welshman whose work to pave the way for this day must be recognised, and I'm proud I can represent Wales on the IRB today and hopefully carry on some of the work done by these great men.
"A lot of people have worked extremely hard behind the scenes to get to where we are now, and a lot of money has gone into getting us to the position we are in today. I'd also like to acknowledge the work of IRB Chief Executive Mike Miller and chairman Bernard Lapasset for their tremendous efforts leading to yesterday's decision.
"It is fantastic that we enter this exciting new period for rugby as Rugby World Cup Sevens champions, that was a huge achievement for Paul John and his team of coaches and players last season and, providing the Congress accepts the decision of the Council in Copenhagen in October, we will now build on that achievement as we move towards 2016. The Olympics will now be a key date in the rugby calendar that will lift the game to new heights.
"The decision will also prove to be a massive boost to the Women's game, with Olympic medals now on offer for a Team GB.
"Sevens is a wonderfully exciting sport in its own right, and a brilliant development tool for the fifteen a side game. There is no hiding place in Sevens and skill levels are tested to the limit."
Wales 7s Manager Steff Thomas believes Luke Treharne has all the attriubutes to be a top class captain. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie hears his reasons why as the squad prepare for the opening two legs of the new World Series in Dubai and South Africa.
The British & Irish Cup kicks off this weekend with the four Regional Premiership Select XVs flying the flag for Wales. Welsh
Sat 14 Nov: Blues Premiership Select v Nottingham (2.30) & Connacht Eagles v Dragons (2.30)
Sun 15 Nov: Yorkshire Carnegie v Ospreys Premiership Select (1.30) & Scarlets v Bedford Blues (3.00)
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.