01 October 2020 / Club News

WRU Status Update

CEO Steve Phillips explains the rationale for introducing temporary local suspensions around the community game following increased Welsh Governemnt restrictions, but is also pleased to confirm the return of rugby in Caerphilly – plus news of the AGM, further consultations on the Community Rugby Strategy and much, much more in the latest WRU Status Update:

We were delighted to reach the stage yesterday where we were able to lift the temporary suspension of community rugby in the County Borough of Caerphilly.

I can assure everyone affected in the community game that the decision to suspend is not taken lightly. It goes against the very core of what the Welsh Rugby Union is about as an organisation and a governing body – we are here to enable our national sport, not curtail or inhibit its progress. But the experts and senior figures on our Community Rugby Board are rightly determined to manage a return to community rugby that is safe and sustainable in the long term and it remains our collective view that local, temporary suspensions following Government-led local lockdowns will make a positive contribution to that aim.

The return of community rugby in Caerphilly is a very good example of this positive contribution in action. Following regular reviews of the situation there, and three weeks after a local lockdown was imposed, clubs and teams of all ages in the area may now return to training.

We have taken a number of factors into account when reviewing this situation including local intelligence around rugby clubs, the trend of coronavirus in the Local Authority and importantly, we have consulted with Club representatives and volunteers from all of Caerphilly’s rugby clubs. Needless to say that all current return to rugby guidelines must continue to be followed to ensure a safe environment for players, coaches and other volunteers.

Further suspensions

In the last fortnight, again following the restrictions announced by Welsh Government for Rhondda Cynon Taff, all community rugby training has been suspended in Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Llanelli town, Merthyr, Newport, RCT and Swansea, with Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan added yesterday. These suspensions remain in place until further notice.

The plan is that these suspensions, when imposed, are temporary and aim to limit community transmission at critical points in time. They will be lifted, as with Caerphilly, after their positive impact has been felt.

There is no blueprint on how to answer the challenges Covid-19 has created for our sport. We do not want to stop people playing rugby nor stop children from being active, but we also want to avoid increasing transmission or potentially adding to the burden on our health service. Once a suspension is in place, we continue to review the situation taking into account a number of factors at work in the area. This policy itself will also remain under constant review, we will consult with affected clubs but its underlying key objective is to do the right thing for the right reasons in each unique case.

Our rationale is that rugby environments bring people together who might not otherwise come into contact with each other. This is a great unique strength of the game ordinarily, but a challenge at a time when community transmission needs minimising.

We will continue to review temporary suspensions imposed until the conditions are such that rugby can safely resume. Clubs will then have the choice whether to return to training and will be supported by the WRU whether they choose to re-open or not.

We are grateful to all member clubs, to Welsh rugby’s coaches, players, administrators and many other volunteers for the hard work, diligence, enthusiasm and passion they have shown to returning to the game we all love in a safe and sustainable way. We will continue to work together to enable clubs to come through this crisis.

We know that player and volunteer retention will be a huge issue for clubs as we emerge from the pandemic and the wish for a return to ‘normality’ is one that we wholeheartedly share. But we have a duty of care to our national game and must take a long-term strategic view. Ultimately players, parents, coaches and our wide network of volunteers need to know they are operating in safe and sustainable environments.

If we must take an overtly cautious approach in order to achieve this ambition, then we make no apology for it.

Stay safe

Steve Philips


Full statement on community rugby as Caerphilly returns:

The Welsh Rugby Union, through the guidance of its Community Game Board, has taken a safety-first approach to the return of community rugby and has been determined from the outset to try to play a part in the fight against the Covid pandemic in Wales with player safety, the long term return of the community game and the health of our communities front of mind.
Operations Director Julie Paterson said, “We are grateful to all our volunteers, coaches, parents and players who have gone above and beyond throughout this process to get players back on the pitch. We know from speaking to them that they want to get back to training – when it is the safe and responsible thing to do in their area. The suspension of rugby in areas where local lockdowns are deemed necessary is a short-term measure that is reviewed regularly…”
Community Director Geraint John added, “We know community rugby is a hugely important factor in the health and well-being of our players, coaches, volunteers and supporters. Our intention throughout has been to manage a return to rugby that is safe and sustainable in the long term. We are grateful for the support of the clubs in helping us to do this… and we will continue to review the situation in all other areas where community rugby is currently suspended.”


It has now been confirmed that the 2020 Annual General Meeting of the Welsh Rugby Union will be held 7pm on Wednesday 28th October.
As previously notified, due to to health and safety considerations and ongoing social distancing requirements given the Covid-19 pandemic, the meeting will be held virtually
Further information regarding arrangements for virtual access will follow soon with preparatory documents expected to be sent out to clubs this week.

Community Rugby Strategy

Over the last fortnight WRU Community Director Geraint John has held a series meetings in Welsh rugby Districts A, C, D and F as a continuation of the exhaustive consultation process for the new strategy for the community game. A similar meeting will be held in District E this evening (Wednesday 30th September) and further meetings will take place on the following dates with remaining Districts across Wales.

  • District G – Thursday 1st October
  • District J – Tuesday 6th October
  • District H – Wednesday 7th October
  • District B – Thursday 8th October

Wales to play at Parc y Scarlets

Wales’ re-scheduled Guinness Six Nations meeting with Scotland and first home Autumn Nations Cup clash, with Georgia, will both be played at Parc y Scarlets, it was announced today.
The Welsh Rugby Union still has options in place to play the two remaining Autumn Nations Cup matches – against England on 28thNovember and the Play-Off Final fixture on 5th December – in London, in order to maximise potential revenue.
But it has confirmed that its 31st October and 21st November matches will now be played in Wales.
Full story 

Wales Women are back

Wales Women are thrilled to be back together to prepare for the rearranged Women’s Six Nations match against Scotland (weekend of October 31).
The squad are training out of Swansea University’s sports facilities to prepare for this match and that’s where WRU TV caught up with captain Siwan Lillicrap:
“We’re all really excited, it’s been tough for everyone, in March we didn’t know what the future held… but we’ve all been able to put some good foundations in this summer we’re feeling good. The body feels repaired, fitter and stronger and hopefully a lot of girls are feeling the same,” she said.
“We have absolutely have some unfinished business and would like to finish (the Six Nations) on a high against Scotland. We know that what we do now as a squad will determine our future and it’s a huge year ahead with the world cup just 12 months away.”
Interim Lead Coach Darren Edwards is buoyant about the potential he’s seen in the side already and the commitment shown to personal training plans throughout lockdown.
“The players have had a break physically and mentally and this is great place to start 12 months out from the World Cup,” he added.

More here: 

Rugby news

Nigel Owens is set to become the first person to take charge of 100 Tests when the Welshman referees France versus Italy in the Autumn Nations Cup in November.
The Rugby World Cup 2015 final referee will take charge of two matches in the new competition to reach the milestone, 17 years after his Test debut in February 2003 when he was in the middle for Portugal versus Georgia.
WRU National Referee Performance Manager, Paul Adams, said: “This is the first time a rugby union referee has reached such a magnificent milestone and it is a testimony to his consistency since winning his first cap in 2003 when Portugal played Georgia.”

More here 

Wales’ four regions have learned their fixtures for the first eight rounds of the new Guinness PRO14 season with Monday night rugby coming to the competition for the first time.
Dragons, Cardiff Blues, Ospreys and Scarlets now know who they will face when the 2020/21 campaign begins next weekend.
John Mulvihill’s side will be the first Welsh team in action when they travel to Italy to face Zebre on Friday, October 2. Dean Ryan’s Dragons also face defending champions Leinster that evening.
A day later – Saturday, October 3 – Scarlets will take on Munster in Llanelli in a repeat of the 2016-17 final while Edinburgh will host Toby Booth’s Ospreys in the Scottish capital.
The first Monday night game will occur in round three when Munster host Cardiff Blues at Thomond Park on October 26.


PRIDE IN WELSH caught up with Ken Owens and fellow Welsh speaking players Tavis Knoyle, Manon Johnes and Dewi Lake for a unique insight into the comforts of Cymraeg.
“I suppose you could say that speaking Welsh is a key part of my identity,” says Wales and Scarlets hooker Ken Owens. “I’ve been fortunate to be raised in a Welsh language heartland, but it’s encouraging to hear that more people who haven’t been raised in that sort of environment are choosing to learn the language.”
At Scarlets and with Wales, speaking Welsh is a common thing for a man synonymous with Carmarthenshire. “Whether it’s with my teammates, members of the coaching staff or the analysis team, it’s always spoken,” says the country’s most-capped hooker. “Singing Welsh hymns is a tradition with club and country – even with the Lions – that I’ve been delighted to play my part in continuing over the years.”

More here: 

The former Llanelli and Cardiff centre Brian Davies, who later became a revered figure at Pentyrch RFC, has died at the age of 79.
Wales Cap No 673 (his father was No 518), David Brian Davies was born in Weston-super-Mare on 7 July, 1941. In playing for Wales, Davies became the seventh son to follow his father into the national side. There have been nine others since.
He won the first of his three caps came in the ‘smallpox’ match against Ireland that had been held over from March to November. The game ended in a 3-3 draw in Dublin and the next month he featured in the Wales U23 team that took on the touring Canadians at the Arms Park.
He held onto his place in the Wales midfield for the opening two games in the 1963 Five Nations Championship. His home debut didn’t go well, as England won 13-6 on a frozen Arms Park pitch, but he tasted victory at Murrayfield in the infamous game of 111 line-outs against the Scots.

More here:

It is National Sporting Heritage Day in the UK on Wednesday, 30 September and we’re asking you to get involved.
We’ll be using social media to showcase some of our sporting treasures from down the years and we’d love clubs, players and fans to get involved.
What is the oldest team photograph out there? It may be hanging on the clubhouse wall, or be stored under the bed of the club secretary, but we’d love to see a picture of it on Twitter or Facebook.
Who has got a Welsh international cap or shirt that was won and worn by their brother, uncle, father or grandfather? If it’s you, then share your pride and let us know all about it.
If you want to get involved on Twitter then tag @welshrugbyunion, using the hashtag #ShareYourSportingHeritage – or send us your photos via email on


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