22 January 2021 / Club News

WRU Status Update

CEO Steve Phillips addresses some key issues for Welsh rugby and describes how plans for the future are progressing plus much, much more in the latest WRU Status Update:

The WRU is undertaking a period of transition with the recently announced departure of three Executive Board members where we must continue to plan for the future.

It was confirmed last week that our Operations Director, Julie Paterson, will be leaving her role after more than 30 years of service with the WRU. She leaves with our full support, we wish her well and we look forward to continuing to work closely with Julie in her new role as director of rugby for the Six Nations.

Julie’s announcement, together with the recent departure of our Performance Director, Ryan Jones, provides us with the opportunity to revisit how best we deliver the WRU Strategy in this very important area of our game. We’ll explore different structures and options available to us and, once agreed, then select a candidate or candidates to execute the agreed strategy.

The third member of the Executive Board to be leaving us will be our Commercial Director, Craig Maxwell, who is also heading to the Six Nations. Craig will leave us sooner than Julie – who will assist the handover during the six- month notice period – so I can confirm that our commercial affairs will, on an interim basis, come under the charge of Rhodri Lewis, our current Group General Counsel.

We are also delighted to confirm we will be offering Gethin Jenkins the position of defence coach with the Wales national side. We are in the process of putting the paperwork in place to confirm the appointment but are happy to share the news that Gethin is Wayne Pivac’s chosen candidate after an excellent performance in the role during the recent Autumn Nations Cup.

Finally, there are a number of other ‘live’ issues currently being discussed in global rugby circles and, of course, a key focus for us will continue to be the return to play of our community game. These issues are challenging and include the Global Season, the potential of private equity investment in the Six Nations, the British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa, the evolution of the PRO14 plus the increased pandemic protocols now expected of us to allow the forthcoming Six Nations tournament to be played. I will continue to keep those with a vested interest in our game up to date as and when Welsh Rugby has important and relevant contributions to share on these issues.

In this our first Status Update of 2021 I would like to repeat my promise to you, our member clubs, the lifeblood of Welsh Rugby, to keep you regularly updated on all matters as we face the challenges of the year ahead together.

Yours in rugby
Steve Phillips.

Back in the game

If you have lost work due to the pandemic and have a connection to Welsh rugby the School of Hard Knocks (SOHK) is here to help. We have teamed up with the SOHK charity to help individuals get ‘Back in the Game’ and into employment.
The SOHK charity has a team of experts who will deliver a series of free, intensive courses, run online and new course dates have been announced in February and April.
The course is suitable for anyone connected with Welsh rugby who has been made redundant due to the covid pandemic – male or female players, coaches, referees, volunteers or parents of players. This course could give members of the rugby family the boost they need to bounce back into the job market.

More info

More recognition for WRU disability rugby provision

Welsh rugby has made great strides in its efforts to become more inclusive towards young people and adults with additional needs, even with the challenges 2020 has brought. WRU Disability Rugby coordinator Darren Carew has provided a series of Jersey For All (at home) videos packed with activities to do in your home or garden, the first WRU Inclusion Coaching Conference was held – online – and the Union has now been shortlisted for Disability Sport Wales’ Insport Organisation of the Year Award. Due to the current restrictions, the awards will now take place later in the year, watch this space.

Having launched its first Disability Rugby strategy in 2018 and achieved Disability Sport Wales’ insport ribbon and bronze equality awards the same year, the Welsh Rugby Union gained the silver standard last November 2019 and is now going for gold. READ all about WRU’s Disability Rugby progress.

More here

100k for Hobbs

More than 300 members of Rhiwbina Rugby Club are running 100k this month in support of club legend Dai Hobbs.
Club vice-chair Hobbs, who has embarked on the biggest fight of his life having started chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, is widely recognised as the true lifeblood of the Cardiff club having fulfilled many key roles and helped the club grow to be one of the largest and most successful clubs in Wales.
When word got out of Hobbs’ devastating diagnosis over Christmas, there was an immediate desire from all concerned to do whatever they could. A running challenge was decided upon which has since captured the hearts, minds and bodies of the whole community.
Former player, parent and junior coach Harry Trelawny explained, “We have around 250 runners in the what’s app group for the challenge which is providing so much motivation for each other – and for Dai who we’ve added to the group. Players who have never run any distance in their lives are regularly completing 5k and even 10k runs. We even have runners taking part in places like Holland and Canada. We have around eight people spending a lot of their own time running the organisation of the challenge – just because they want to do something for Dai – and our current running total is £23 000. Next month, the mini and junior players are going to join in, running 1k a day and we feel that if we can do this under the current restrictions, we should keep going. Who knows, the target of 100k miles in a month could turn into a target of raising £100k! We are currently raising money for two charities close to Dai’s heart – School of Hard Knocks and MIND Cardiff and we are looking to extend that list. We also want to keep going as the physical and mental benefits to our players and runners are proving to be life-changing.”

Former Rhiwbina captain Nick Howell added, “Throughout my playing days and since, Dai has been at the very heart of the club’s success, on and off the pitch. He would be the one ringing players during the week, making sure we had players for the firsts, seconds, thirds and even a fourth team at one stage. He has basically been full-time on a voluntary basis at the club since his early retirement. He helped us gain funding to build our own changing rooms and a small gym; he could be found cleaning or pitch painting during the week and was determined the club should retain a strong social element. He was always at the heart of that in the clubhouse after matches and he has always been relentless himself when it comes to fundraising. His kindness and humour transcends not just the rugby club but the whole community. Everyone who has anything to do with the sports and recreation club knows Dai, even if they aren’t linked to rugby at all. We all just want to do him justice and help him to stay strong in his battle. We know he would be doing it for any one of us.”

Coaching the coaches
Legendary All Blacks coach Graham Henry once famously said: “No matter what level you are at, coaching is a challenge.” It’s a sentiment Scott Sneddon would probably agree with.
After all, not many people would travel 14 hours just to make a session with colleagues on the inaugural High Performance Coach programme, but the former Cross Keys, Glamorgan Wanderers and Cardiff fly half did just that – more than once – and he was prepared to do it again but unfortunately COVID-19 intervened.
The High Performing Coach programme sits at level 4 on the WRU coach development framework and aims to provide coaches with a learning programme that fosters critical thinking alongside creativity in the coaching process.

Rugby News

We focus on Wales women, an international heading for the Ospreys next season and one of the rising stars in this week’s Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We speak to Wales Women’s captain Siwan Lillicrap after their New Year camp, Ospreys coach Toby Booth on the 60-cap rule and Dragons centre Aneurin Owen.

Listen here

During a 12-year playing career Nadine Griffiths won 44 international caps, represented the famous Nomads and featured in European Championships and a Rugby World Cup – but her proudest moment in the sport has been the establishment of the Cardiff Blues Community Foundation.
Griffiths has dedicated more than 30 years of her life to rugby, first as one of the founding members of the first official women’s team of Cardiff RFC and then a champion of the sport, capturing the hearts and minds of thousands throughout the region.

The Cardiff Blues Community Foundation Director grew up in Pencoed playing hockey to county level and competing as a Welsh Schools javelin thrower. Her family had always been rugby enthusiasts and her brother Geoff played at county level and in the Premiership for Llanharan during the 1990s

“We are desperate to get back to normal and playing rugby when it’s safe to do so, but at this time of crisis we had to step forward,” says Carmarthen Athletic chairman Wynne Jones.
“We will continue to do whatever we can to help.”

The west Wales club has certainly played a huge part in developing future stars for Welsh rugby and now it is doing similar in helping the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
From January 18, Carmarthen Athletic’s clubhouse has been taken over as a venue for Covid-19 vaccinations.
Furnace House Surgery in the centre of Carmarthen contacted patients over 80 years of age inviting them to make an appointment to get their vaccinations.
The doses are now being administered at Carmarthen Athletic which offers more space for social distancing.


Haydn Morris, the former Cardiff and Wales wing who toured South Africa with the 1955 British & Irish Lions has died at the age of 92 in Norwich.
The Mountain Ash-born Morris won three caps for Wales on the wing and scored two tries. His international debut came in Paris in an 8-3 defeat to the French in the final game of the 1951 Five Nations Championship.


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