A NEW professional body is being established by the WRU and the four Welsh regions to strengthen and develop professional rugby in Wales, both on and off the field.
The Professional Regional Game Board (PRGB) is being formed following an independent review into the regional game.
It is the result of lengthy talks between the WRU and the regions (the Scarlets, Ospreys, Dragons and Blues).
It will have eight key objectives:
- To underpin, support and maximise performance of the national teams;
- improve the overall financial management of the regions;
- help retain senior Welsh internationals playing in Wales where appropriate;
- develop Welsh international players;
- achieve four regions which can effectively compete at the top of European rugby within five years;
- support the Principality Premiership;
- ensure the continued support and development of the community game;
- ensure the continued sustainability of the Millennium Stadium.
The new board, made up of four members of the WRU, four members of the regions and an independent chairman, will be supported with additional resource from the WRU.
The distribution of current funding to the regions from the WRU under the terms of the existing Participation Agreement will be monitored and overseen by the PRGB.
The talks between the regions and the WRU were based on the findings of an independent report into regional rugby in Wales by accountants PwC.
WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis said: “The PRGB will play a significant role in helping regional rugby make real progress, on and off the field.
“The PwC report confirmed to all of us in uncompromising detail that we have to act very differently, so we have worked hard in a spirit of unity to forge a structure that can provide workable and meaningful solutions.
“It is abundantly clear that we have to forge a strong and collaborative working partnership going forward.”
Speaking on behalf of the four regions, the chief executive of the Scarlets, Mark Davies, said: “The PRGB is the result of a period of constructive dialogue, with the WRU and the four regions committing to deliver on clear and agreed objectives over time, as the first step towards securing a healthy future for the professional game in Wales.”