Regional Rugby Wales (RRW) the organisation that represents the interests of four Welsh Regions in the professional game will be renamed as part of its strategy to strengthen the development and performance of the professional game in Wales.
Pro Rugby Wales will now replace RRW as the name of the organisation that leads and protects Welsh regional rugby’s interests inside and outside Wales as a clear reflection of its future vision and strategy.
Having signed the Rugby Services Agreement (RSA) with the WRU at the end of August and with a new European tournament structure underway, Pro Rugby Wales is setting out a clear statement of strategy and intent on behalf of the four Regions to deliver sustainable and competitive professional rugby in Wales.
Chief Executive of the new Pro Rugby Wales Mark Davies said: "The new Rugby Services agreement and the European Competition structure combine to provide all four Regions with a more stable commercial platform. The additional funding streams now in place will help us to focus responsibly and intelligently in building strength in depth in our squads and further improve our development and retention of Welsh talent.
"But whilst we have taken some of the immediate pressure off our businesses, in professional sport it is impossible to stand still as our competition moves on and develops very quickly. It is essential that work together and push hard to develop revenue and reduce costs across all four businesses.
"Practically, though contractually we are defined as Regions, to our supporters and sponsors we are their clubs, to our coaches and players the jersey they commit to every week. In fact, what we actually represent is the professional game in Wales - the four Welsh professional squads who play in the Pro12 league.
“So Pro Rugby Wales simply describes what we are and what we do. For any potential commercial partner, that’s a clear position to understand.”
Chairman of Pro Rugby Wales Robin Cammish said: “Over the past 12 months the leaders of the professional game in Wales have seen the benefits of proactively collaborating together, and we have now all committed to continue to work effectively together in the future.
“For the first time ever we now have full responsibility from the youngest aspiring teenager joining a regional academy, through to a senior professional selected to play for the British and Irish Lions. In the words of a former Lion; “it takes the regions five years hard work and investment to turn a player into an overnight success”.
“We understand the vital importance of investing in the development of the game at all levels and in order to do that Pro Rugby Wales will act as a strong, commercial voice for the Welsh Regions as a key stakeholder in Europe and the PRO12 as well as representing the professional game when working with the Welsh Rugby Union”.
“The Welsh Regions are united and determined in their desire to take the game forward with a common purpose and shared strategy; that strength was fully recognised earlier this year with a clear vote of confidence from a successful global business BT Sport as we secured the largest joint sponsorship in the history of the four Regions.”
Pro Rugby Wales will be officially launched this evening (Tuesday 28th October) at the 40th anniversary Lloyd Lewis Award ceremony and Welsh Rugby Writers’ dinner at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, which is being sponsored by the Four Welsh Regions.