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Welsh Rugby To Reorganise

2nd September 2005

Welsh rugby will undergo a major re-organisation below the Premier Division from season 2006-2007.

The nationwide shake-up is designed to create more community interest in rugby below the semi-professional Premiership level and reduce travel costs, while enhancing revenue opportunities through increased local derbies and greater use of clubhouse facilities. And the WRU Board will be presented with a new strategy in the new year for the development and nurturing of rugby in North Wales in particular.
"The big picture is to create more community interest in rugby below the Premier level - which will then be the only national division in Welsh rugby," said Phil John, WRU Community Rugby Manager. "Divisions 1 and 2 will be split into East and West, with 12 clubs in each of the new divisions playing 22 matches in a home and away format.

"Divisions 3, 4 and 5 will be aligned on a regional basis instead of the current system, which means there will be four divisions under the banners of the Scarlets, Blues, Ospreys and Dragons."

The situation in North Wales will be put under the spotlight once again and this latest move means that Llangefni and Ruthin will not now have to return to play in their own region at the end of the 2005-2006 campaign.

"The reality of the North Wales situation is that the region has a particularly favoured position and is most certainly not being cast adrift in any shape or form," added John. "The firm intention is to look after North Wales rugby and develop it as a whole, rather than on the haphazard basis of focusing on whichever clubs were the area's leading teams at any particular time.

"Part of the national plan is the creation of a national amateur team underpinned from the five new regional sides. These are the teams from which the national side would be selected.

"North Wales will be granted the dispensation of having their own regional team, rather than through the Scarlets, with the intention of using that vehicle to improve standards of rugby in Noth Wales.

"If they sign up to that it could be used as the basis of a semi-pro team if they prove capable of sustaining results against the other amateur sides.

"The bottom line is that we are reviewing the whole process involving North Wales rugby and a new strategic plan will be presented to the Board in January."