04 June 2020 / Club News

WRU Status Update

The Welsh Rugby Union has clarified how the latest Welsh Government [COVID] guidelines, in force from Monday 1 June affect Welsh community rugby – in its latest WRU Status Update.

The national governing body has reminded all involved in the community game from players and parents to coaches, referees and volunteers – that all rugby activity is currently suspended and confirmed that in-depth guidelines will be issued and a thorough process will be followed before any organised community rugby activity is sanctioned in Wales.

However, for further clarity, the WRU has issued a guide to exercising safely within the current guidelines.

WRU Community Director Geraint John said, “While all organised rugby activity is currently suspended in Wales, we recognise that players, coaches, referees and volunteers throughout community rugby will be keen to step up their plans to get ready for the return of rugby, as and when that is deemed safe and in line with Welsh Government guidelines. 

“We will be contacting all clubs, rugby groups and Female Hubs in due course with in-depth guidance to help with the return to play process. This will include online meetings and advice on getting facilities and people ready for when the time comes to start sanctioned training and off-field activity. The safety of all involved is the priority when developing and delivering these guidelines. 

“Until that time, we urge everyone within the game to stay fit and active within the phased approach taken by Welsh Government.” 

Key latest info in relation to Welsh community rugby: 

  • From Monday 1 June, all players, coaches and referees, in line with the rest of Welsh society are now able to train outdoors with members of their household and one other household, within five miles of their home. 
  • The two metre social distancing rule is still in place regarding members of another household – no physical contact is permitted – check out the WRU’s Stay Active programmes for guidance 
  • Personal hygiene is as important as ever. Wash hands regularly and do not share any training equipment – balls, cones etc – with members of another household. Do not share drinks bottles.
  • All indoor club facilities remain closed in line with government guidance
  • All club-owned rugby pitches also remain closed while organised rugby activity is suspended 

Return to Rugby Working Group

A ‘Return to Rugby Working Group’ has been tasked with looking at the protocols and procedures that will need to be established throughout both the professional and community game ahead of its return.

This group, in line with World Rugby, is looking at numerous aspects such as medical matters with the main focus being that all involved are returning in the safest possible environment.

It will also consider participation, operations and club development with the Union committed to ensuring that all clubs are in a position to return once we are given guidance to do so and it is important to note that we are essentially being directed by Government guidelines.

Key recommendations from the Working Group are expected to be circulated in the coming weeks. 

​In terms of transfers, the Community Game Board has determined that the transfer portal, via MyWRU, which would usually open on 1st June to allow clubs to initiate transfers will be temporarily suspended along with registrations for new players and migrations in the Male and Female game along with Mini, Juniors and Youth. 

Clubs will be notified immediately when this suspension is lifted, ensuring there is ample opportunity to initiate transfers, registrations and migrations.

If clubs have any queries on this subject in the meantime please e-mail WRU rugby operations manager Adam Taylor. 

Volunteers Week
During Volunteers Week, it’s important to recognise the huge contribution on and off-field volunteers make to Welsh Rugby at all times. 

Our coaches, parents, referees, team managers, first aiders and administrators work tirelessly to ensure rugby clubs continue to be happy places for all at the heart of our communities and to enable rugby to thrive. 

During this difficult time for all, they have continued to work behind the scenes to ensure clubs survive the lockdown by accessing funds and taking care of their finances. 

They are also providing a virtual support network for members of all ages by organising quizzes, challenges and online meetings – along with coming to the aid of the most vulnerable throughout their own communities and nationally. Diolch yn fawr i chi i gyd. 

One husband and wife team at Tondu rugby club – chair and treasurer Graham and Jo Thomas – exemplify the monumental effort going on throughout Wales at the moment.

Graham, who is the club’s under 15 coach, oversees one of the biggest mini and junior sections in the area as well as the club sponsors said, “We have some fantastic volunteers throughout the club. We’ve been looking at how to keep the club connected at this time through quizzes and challenges. We’ve been running a ‘Greatest ever Tondu XV’ on social media which has worked very well to keep everyone engaged.
“We’re going through something we’ve never seen before. As a business you try to put something aside for an emergency and it feels like this is that emergency. We’ve shut the club down completely apart from essential maintenance and apart from making sure the club is there when we return, mental health is one of the most important aspects. Our club mentor and well-being coach Rob Lester has sent a short video to all our groups making sure we stay in contact and check in on each other regularly. 

“We are also looking ahead at the future. There are some positives we can take from this period, for example club meetings via zoom or other apps, while a challenge for some at first, could prove useful in the long-term when many can struggle to get to the club. I think one of the challenges will be getting the young people back off the X-Box as they’ve inevitably been forced to do that for a lot of the time in lockdown.

“Once government guidelines allow us to re-open our clubhouse, we have looked at ways we could re-open the space while keeping social distancing measures. We have a garden and could possibly become a café or drop-in centre for the community.

“Our 45 or so coaches are also keen to do something but we will of course wait and react whenever we get the green light.”

Jo, who works in insurance is confident all measures have been taken to safeguard the club financially.

“We contacted Business Wales immediately and were grateful to receive both the Welsh Government and WRU grants. We’ve also applied to Bridgend Council. We took advantage of the furlough system to ensure our staff are looked after and our expenditure is reduced to an absolute minimum. I’d be happy to help other clubs on areas such as insurance and we’d also be keen to hear from other clubs in terms of their ideas during this time.”

News round-up


A chance this week to hear at length about how the top Welsh coaches of the future are being developed. 
Wales once led the world in coaching development, now there is a concerted effort to get back to the top. 

We speak to the man running those efforts, WRU performance coach manager Dan Clements.

Audio here: 


If you work in rugby and want to see the world, the potential for opportunities is endless. Just ask Marc Carter, Hong Kong’s Head of Performance Analysis.

The fact that Carter is an outgoing kind of guy, as well as a skilled analyst, has clearly impressed the coaches from around the world who have employed the man from Barry.

His career started closer to home, however, with an introduction to performance analysis at Cardiff Blues by department head Rhodri Manning. 

After that came a stint with Rygbi Gogledd Cymru in Colwyn Bay. 

At the time, RGC had strong links with Canada Rugby, with no fewer than nine Canucks in their 2010 squad, and soon Carter was assisting the national side in adapting to new analytics software on their European tour. 

But next he followed a number of big names from the Welsh game such as Paul John, Jevon Groves and Leigh Jones, who have joined the Hong Kong Rugby Union in recent years,

Read more about Marc 


Cwmtwrch rugby club has neared the completion of its new clubhouse and community hub on Glyncynwal Parc, where they are looking to further develop their rugby offering and support the wider community.  

Club members have been busy over the past few months. Among them, Helen Jones has been busy making laundry bags for nurses and carers while Andrew Dady and Bertie Roberts are among volunteers who are currently providing cooked meals and fresh groceries via the Canolfan Ystradowen & Neuadd Cwmllynfell.

Jenny Simmons has been knitting ear savers with 100% cotton yarn so they can be washed at 60º. She has also started making simple cloth masks made of three layers of material with a dense cotton in the middle. Jenny is willing to make these for free if anyone is in need or they can be bought for £5 and all proceeds will go to the food bank Ystradgynlais.


Fleur de Lys rugby club mens team have recently raised £1,300 for the NHS by cycling over 2,000 miles. 

Club secretary Sue Davies praised ‘a great team effort’which has galvanised the club after a difficult few years, which has included a major fire in the clubhouse followed by lockdown in a small village where deaths from the coronavirus have also been keenly felt. 

The fundraiser’s have made their secretary extremely proud and the club is remaining positive and looking forward to a new season and a return to rugby. 

“This was also a heartfelt way to inspire and motivate our team to get exercise,” added Davies.


Upon closing its club house after lockdown Dowlais rugby club donated its entire stock of soft drinks and crisps to the Kier Hardie Health Centre in Merthyr Tydfil.  

The health centre has been training NHS workers to combat the Coronavirus and greatly appreciated the gesture. 


Welsh rugby has been blessed with many good all-round sportsmen. Ken Jones won an Olympic silver medal, Nigel Walker won a World Indoor Athletics bronze and Maurice Turnbull played cricket for England.

Arthur ‘Candy’ Evans was a Welsh amateur heavyweight boxing champion and Fred Parfitt not only won the Triple Crown with Wales at rugby in 1893, but also in bowls. He won nine international caps at rugby and played for Wales at bowls over a 20 year period.

Wilf Wooller led Glamorgan to their first County Championship title in 1948 and Keith Jarrett played for the Welsh county against both the Indian and Pakistan tourists.

Among the lesser-known all-rounders are three great stalwarts of Newport Athletic Club, Bert Dauncey, Louis Phillips and Tom Pearson. Their talents extended in many sports and earned them many more international honours than they earned on the rugby field. 

More here:

And then there were four! But what a quartet they are.

You have voted in your thousands to help us uncover the ‘Greatest Ever Welsh Try’ and our top 16 have been whittled down to a ‘Fab Four’. It is the ‘Past Masters’ of the ‘Super-Seventies’ against two of the ‘Modern Heroes’ of the ‘Professional Age’.

So, who is going to reach the final shoot out when Scott Gibbs goes up against Sir Gareth Edwards and Phil Bennett takes on Justin Tipuric – it’s 1972 v 1999 and 1977 v 2020.

Just to provide some added context to the four remarkable scores we thought we’d go through them in fine detail for you…

More here…

CEO comment 
“Welsh rugby has a watching brief at the moment, but this is a hugely positive position to be in as we develop plans for returning to play. 
We will not be the first sport back – we already know that Premiership football is due to return on the 17th June.
Football is probably the closest sport to our own, with its pervasive popularity at a community level and a professional tier which is its driving force and will be an extremely useful yardstick. 
We have a huge opportunity to learn in detail about how to create a safe environments for players, virus testing, hygiene and sanitation, matchday logistics, venue management, travel to and from games and general safety for all other involved from referees to other staff and, obviously in the future, spectators. 
Even more pertinently, we won’t be the first rugby playing nation to return – New Zealand are currently negotiating their own Return to Rugby Requirements which will lead to fulfilling the first professional fixtures of the Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa on Saturday 13th June, with all levels of club and community rugby below following suit on 20th June. 
We will watch and learn and we will be in a better position because of the opportunity to do this. 
The PRO14 competition has stated its desire to return in late August, we have not named a date or set any fixtures in stone in Wales because we are of course closely aligned to Welsh Government advice and mindful that conditions must be right – but when conditions are right our current watching brief will stand us in good stead. 
The community game in Wales is intrinsically linked to the professional game and it may be natural to assume that when conditions are right for one to return they would also allow the resumption of the other – but we must take great care to treat these two elements of Welsh rugby separately. 
We will also learn from precedents set in New Zealand and sports like football at a domestic level, but we are acutely aware that the timeline for the return of community rugby will run a different course. 
We all desperately want the current health crisis to be over and for rugby to return throughout the country, but I echo the sentiment of the Sport Wales chief executive Brian Davies earlier this week who said that ‘it is better not to rush and get it right’ and that we must be ‘patient and unified’ at this time. 
We have outlined in this update our current message to our community clubs – that community rugby remains suspended until further notice, but work on fitness and preparation can continue locally whilst following regulations. 
As Welsh Government guidelines change, so will our advice to clubs, and we have committed to keeping this constant stream of information and good counsel flowing. 
But for now, patience and seizing the opportunity to observe other sports and nations who are at more advanced stages of planned returns to action, is the required. 
The current modus operandi for all of Welsh rugby, and particularly at a local level, is to watch and learn. 

Stay safe 
Martyn Phillips


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