It has been a landmark and historic week for Welsh rugby with the new Rugby Services Agreement (RSA) agreed. At Cardiff Blues we are naturally very pleased that the RSA is now in place and we can look forward to the new season at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park with renewed excitement and positivity.
Following long and detailed negotiations, the RSA provides a new and positive outlook for Cardiff Blues and regional rugby for the next six years. This truly marks a new era for the professional game in Wales and everyone at Cardiff Blues and across our region is determined to continue the hard work of recent years to ensure our great game prospers at all levels.
There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a very challenging period of negotiation for us all; such was the importance of the outcome that we have now achieved. But what was a true source of inspiration throughout this time were our sponsors, partners and, most crucially, our fantastic fans, all of whom have remained incredibly supportive whilst living with increased degrees of uncertainty.
I write to you today to express my sincere thanks and gratitude. Our fans have remained positive throughout uncertain times and stood side by side with us. The level of backing we have witnessed from our fans and corporate partners has been absolutely outstanding. This is reflected in us surpassing our Season Ticket numbers from last year and welcoming new corporate clients, all despite the turbulent environment we have been operating in. The strength of any club is its support and it is my belief that the ‘Blues Family’ has never been so strong.
The focus for much of this summer has naturally been on the off the field politics and the future of the professional game in Wales. Now that we have the new RSA in place we can all really look forward to what we have been waiting for - the start of the new Guinness PRO12 season next weekend.
We are excited about the new-look squad and backroom team we’ve assembled for the 2014/15 season. Our new Director of Rugby, Mark Hammett, has joined us and is determined to help us achieve long-term success at Cardiff Blues. International signings such as Jarrad Hoeata, Josh Turnbull, Tavis Knoyle, Craig Mitchell, Manoa Vosawai and, most recently, Adam Jones have really boosted the strength and depth of our squad. We also look forward to welcoming Gareth Anscombe in the coming months. For every player in our squad this is a new start under a new Director of Rugby and I’m sure that fierce competition for every jersey and the renewed ambition within our region will drive us forward.
Our first home game of the Guinness PRO12 season is on Sunday, September 14th when we welcome Glasgow Warriors. It would be fantastic to see a big crowd at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park for the opening day on home soil. The strength of support we receive helps makes our home one of the most iconic in world rugby so please get right behind your Cardiff Blues!
Thank you for your support and enjoy the season at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
Richard Holland – Chief Executive, Cardiff Blues