Cardiff Blues fully supports proposals put forward, via the rugby management board, to introduce Regional Premiership Select teams in the 2015/16 British & Irish Cup and subsequent tournaments.
It is vital that we continue to bridge the gap between Premiership and Regional rugby and that the rugby pathway for developing talented young players and coaches in Wales is enhanced.
We believe that this proposed change to Welsh representation in the British & Irish Cup will help all four regions achieve that ultimate aim.
We are aware of the statement issued by Pontypridd RFC in relation to its future participation in the British & Irish Cup.
We would stress that our support of Pontypridd RFC remains strong and we are in dialogue with them over the proposed creation of Regional Premiership Select teams, which we would expect them to have numerous players involved in.
They also remain a key part of the Competition Pathway Working Group that started the review of the competition in March and consists of representatives from the WRU Board, WRU Executive, the Principality Premiership Division and the Welsh Regions.
This season we have provided Pontypridd RFC with extensive player support, with 18 contracted senior players from Cardiff Blues featuring for them alongside Paul John as Head Coach.
Pontypridd RFC will also compete in the Principality Premiership final against Ebbw Vale at Sardis Road on Sunday and we will provide several of our players for this crucial fixture. We wish them every success in the defence of the title.
It is our firm long-term belief that the creation of Regional Premiership Select teams to compete in the British & Irish Cup - with an input from Regional coaching structures and selection from across the semi-professional clubs within each of the four Regions – is the way forward.
It is imperative we improve the rugby pathway for talented players in our region and we look forward to future WRU support with this proposal.