The Welsh Rugby Union and the four regions have reached full agreement on the establishment of a new Professional Regional Game Board (PRGB) to work together to improve the sustainability and competitiveness of regional rugby in Wales.
The new body replaces the Management Board as set out in the Participation Agreement.
Full terms of reference for the new body have now been agreed by all the stakeholders and it will begin operating immediately.
Agreement on the format and remit of the Professional Regional Game Board were confirmed at its first meeting in the Millennium Stadium on Thursday July 18.
The High Court Judge Sir Wyn Williams was installed as the independent, non-voting chair of the body which consists of five members from the WRU, one from each of the four Regions and one representative from Regional Rugby Wales.
The agreed remit of the Professional Regional Game Board will include:
• Regional player contracts and recruitment policy
• Academy structures and associated player development
• The marketing of Regional rugby
• Collective Regional Revenue opportunities and resource management
• Regional financial planning and best practice
The first full meeting of the body was attended by the following delegates: Peter Thomas, (Chairman Cardiff Blues), Nigel Short (Chairman, Scarlets), Martin Hazell (Chairman, Newport Gwent Dragons), Roger Blyth (Managing Director, Ospreys), Stuart Gallacher (Chief Executive, Regional Rugby Wales), Roger Lewis (WRU Group Chief Executive), David Pickering (WRU Chairman), Steve Phillips (WRU Finance Director), Joe Lydon (WRU Head of Rugby), Rhodri Lewis (WRU Head of Legal Affairs), Julie Paterson (WRU Group Head of Compliance, PRGB Secretary).
The Group Chief Executive of the WRU, Roger Lewis, said: "I am delighted that we have reached agreement on the establishment of the Professional Regional Game Board.
"Our first meeting was very constructive indeed. I am confident it will be an active and meaningful forum through which positive changes can be achieved.
"Our aim is to ensure we use our combined expertise and knowledge to develop the right systems and structures, adopt best practice and identify synergies of mutual benefit.
"The creation of the Professional Regional Game Board is testimony to our determination to work together in the best interests of the Regional game in Wales."
The Chief Executive of Regional Rugby Wales, Stuart Gallacher, said: "This is an encouraging step which builds on the discussions that have taken place alongside the work undertaken by PWC last year.
"All four regions have made significant progress towards establishing a sustainable business platform over the last two years and hope to be able to build on that work with the support of the WRU.
"Our first meeting was certainly constructive , so we look forward to the Board providing a real and tangible contribution to the goal of sustainable and competitive professional rugby in Wales."
Porthcawl recently received a WRU facilities grant and funding from Natwest RugbyForce in order to give their changing rooms a facelift. This came after receiving £10,000 in a WRU facilities grant last year to tarmac their car park. The improvements have already helped to make the club more accessible, not only for their own members and players but for the whole community.
The Welsh Rugby Union has launched a new, accredited Safeguarding and Protecting Children course - funded by the WRU and delivered in partnership with Sport Wales and the NSPCC - fo rugby club volunteers around Wales.
The SWALEC semi-final draws threw up some mouth-watering clashes in the Cup, Plate and Bowl as the 12 teams aim for the Millennium Stadium Finals Day. All the semi-finals are to be played on the weekend of April 12.
Welsh whistler Rhys Thomas continues to scale the heights of the game as he prepares to be an official in this weekend's Hong Kong Sevens tournament, undoubtedly the showpiece event on the World Series calendar.
Wales International Ian Evans and Wales and Lions legend Scott Quinnell swapped rugby balls for paint pots at Tonna during the RBS 6 Nations. They surprised club players with a special clubhouse makeover to launch NatWest RugbyForce 2014 - a programme developed in partnership with the WRU to make rugby clubs stronger businesses by improving and renovating their facilities with the support of volunteers and the local community.
Fresh from claiming the Bowl honours in Tokyo last Sunday, the Wales Sevens squad have settled into their routine as they prepare for this weekend's Hong Kong tournament where Iolo Evans is aiming high, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.