03 December 2020 / Club News

WRU Status Update

CEO Steve Phillips spells out Welsh rugby’s survival needs as he relays ‘positive discussions’ with the First Minister, plus Liza Burgess makes history – again – as the new vice-chair of the WRU plus much, much more in your latest Status Update: 

There is no denying that when Sports Minister Nigel Huddlestone announced a package of rescue funding measures over a week ago, he very much recognised the importance of rugby to society in England, which left English rugby in a significantly better state than it had been moments before.

As you might expect, we have been asked a number of times for public comment on the subject since.  This is an invitation we have resisted to date and one which we will continue to resist whilst positive discussions are ongoing with Welsh Government.

As you would expect me to, I’ve highlighted that rugby in Wales plays a bigger role in Welsh society than it does in England; it is the heartbeat of our communities.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant measures to control it have hit Welsh rugby hard.  That is not only measured financially but more importantly on a societal basis where we are social animals within rugby and very much enjoy each other’s company; there are also endless wellbeing concerns including mental health to consider. We have looked to ourselves and done all that we can to ensure the survival of our member clubs and our professional game to date, but we have reached the point where external help is no longer a want, but a requirement.

We are looking for parity, on a fair and proportionate basis, with what has been provided to English rugby. Our clubs, our national teams, our regions, our community programmes – are all part of our DNA and all aspects of the game are under enormous stress. Sport is about parity, starting on a level playing field, therefore we don’t believe Welsh rugby should be disadvantaged compared to our near neighbours.

We have endeavoured, in all that we have done during this pandemic, to take responsibility and help shoulder the burden for fighting it wherever possible; whether that be making our collective facilities available to our NHS to local club players delivering food parcels within their communities.  We understand and empathise with the challenges faced by Welsh Government, who have many hungry mouths to feed as they guide us all to safety and, hopefully, a return to some semblance of normality once a vaccine arrives.

But we have not let this stop us from making the case for Welsh rugby to Welsh Government as we strive to ensure that we are able to count as many clubs out of this pandemic as we were able to boast at the start and that our professional game survives intact in a competitive fashion, ready to rise again once this is all over.

Not to act now would be unforgiveable and unthinkable for anyone Welsh.

Yours in rugby,

Steve Phillips


Burgess wins vice-chair as Board completes re-shuffle

Liza Burgess has been elected vice-chair of the Welsh Rugby Union Board.
A pioneer of the Women’s game, celebrated coach and former Wales captain, Burgess became the first female director to be elected to the Board via the route of winning a member club vote, in November 2019.

Her appointment completes a period of transition which has seen Robert Butcher take over from Gareth Davies as chairman and former group finance director Steve Phillips installed as CEO in place of the departing Martyn Phillips.
Ieuan Evans, who filled the position vacated by Davies when he won election to the Board, also replaces the former chair as one of the WRU’s three nominated representatives on World Rugby – alongside new chair Butcher and Executive Board member Julie Paterson who both continue in the roles.

Evans, the former Carmarthen Quins, Llanelli, Bath, Wales and British & Irish Lions wing who has forged a distinguished ambassadorial and media career since retirement, also joins the Lions Board alongside CEO Phillips.
Elsewhere the WRU chairman, Butcher, and CEO, Phillips, will represent the WRU on the Six Nations Board.
“It is an honour and a privilege to welcome Liza to the position of vice-chair of the WRU Board,” said chairman Rob Butcher.

“Liza has been an integral member of our Board since her election in 2019 and though she is joined by other senior female figures in Amanda Blanc and Aileen Richards, as an elected representative she is a particularly powerful role model for the new breed of Board member we all hope our clubs will continue to help us produce.
“We also welcome Ieuan to two vitally important positions, on World Rugby and with the Lions, and I know he will represent Welsh rugby to the very highest of standards in both roles.”

Club funding
We have written to member clubs separately to advise in detail the process for, and background to, the conclusion of the Community Game Board (CGB) on the club funding model to be employed for the year ahead.
In short, clubs will be awarded development funding based on an average of the amounts they received during the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons.

With the emergency funds (excluding Storm Dennis) already allocated since July 2020, the CGB has ensured that no club received less than they did last season.

Although exceptional, it was agreed this was in keeping with the desired aim to help all clubs emerge from the pandemic intact. All clubs will shortly receive a letter outlining their specific development grant payments using the model described.

Schedule of Payments
Jul 27th: PPE grant (already paid)
Sep 30th: Core Grant (already paid)
Oct 30th: Emergency Fund (already paid)
Nov 30th: Core Grant and Emergency Fund
Dec 18th: Development Grant – 1st payment
Dec 31st: Emergency Fund
Jan 29th: Core Grant
Feb 26th: Development Grant – 2nd payment
April 30th: Core Grant and 3rd Development Grant payment

Return to Rugby
We have recently been delighted to sanction the introduction of friendly tag (under 7s and under 8s) and touch rugby matches on a club v club basis for all levels of the game.

The WRU issued guidelines for this next phase of the WRU’s Return to Community Rugby plan during a webinar with more than 300 Club Operations Managers, covering areas such as car travel which should be within household bubbles only, and a framework for suggested touch rugby numbers and rules for this period.

Matches must be arranged between teams and clubs within the same WRU district, and strict safety and hygiene protocols are still a prerequisite for all training sessions and friendly matches.
More here

Rugby News

Alun Wyn Jones recently gate-crashed a video call with the Medicine Clinical Board at the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

The surprise call was arranged by S4C’s Clwb Rygbi programme and the WRU as a gesture of gratitude to hard-working NHS staff for their tireless efforts during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Clwb Rygbi presenter Catrin Heledd sprung the surprise on the unsuspecting staff by interrupting their meeting with a camera crew.

Aled Roberts, Medicine Clinical Board Director, Medicine Clinical Board, said: “The staff were so surprised to see Alun Wyn Jones ‘gatecrash’ our internal meeting but what better person to have join us! The team were delighted when they had a chance to ask him questions and were personally touched by his message of thanks.

“It was a wonderful boost to team morale, particularly as we face a challenging Winter and we’re so grateful that he took the time out to speak to us.”

Jones said in the meeting: “The difference you’re making to society and communities is massive, so a huge thank you on behalf of our families, the squad and everyone involved with the Welsh Rugby Union.”
A link to the clip

Rugby royalty from around the world have showered Nigel Owens with personal messages of good will and well wishes on the eve of his record-breaking achievement of reaching 100 Tests as a referee.

Owens became the first referee in history to reach the magical milestone when he took charge of the Autumn Nations Cup third round clash at Stade de France which saw France defeat Italy 36-5 last weekend.
New Zealand captain Sam Cane, on behalf of the All Blacks, said he always admired the way Owens never took himself too seriously but is an ultimate professional and ‘when it comes to refereeing the game is a great man to have involved in our wonderful sport.’

World Cup winning coach Rassie Erasmus has congratulated Owens on the way he has been an example ‘for all of us on and off the field.’

“From all of South Africa, the rugby public and all the supporters and players we’d like to thank you and congratulate you on your achievement,” added Erasmus.
Former Wales head coach Warren Gatland said what Owens ‘has achieved for Welsh rugby and world rugby is absolutely outstanding.’

Australian referee Angus Gardner added Owens was his idol growing up and it was great to have worked with him in recent years ‘and to reach 100 Tests is ‘amazing’
More here 


One of Welsh rugby’s long standing Mini, Junior, Youth and Senior volunteers Mark Hopkins has stepped down from the Blues North region after 25 years of service to the game.
Hopkins has been a community rugby volunteer for over 25 years primarily in Merthyr Tydfil, Merthyr & South Powys Junior District Association, Heart of Wales Junior District Association and within the District C U19 Game Management Group (GMG)

He has fulfilled a wide and varied range of roles in his 25 years of service and has coached, team managed and support 100s of young male and female participants on their rugby journey.

Dowlais RFC is his club of origin where he coached his own son Lloyd from mini to youth rugby while also supporting local players who would develop to represent multiple clubs in the Merthyr Tydfil borough and beyond at a community and professional level.

He also performed a number of volunteer committee functions at Dowlais RFC from fixture secretary to junior chairperson and has been a key administrator for the Heart of Wales Junior District Association.

By his own admission Hopkins steps down to ‘hand over to new volunteer blood’ to drive the next generational support of U19 rugby in District C alongside the WRU, as well as needing to return to work commitments and family life.
“Mark has been an incredible and committed volunteer to rugby in Wales for over 25 years, his energy and drive epitomizes his selfless personality and passion for all things rugby in Wales,” said WRU Regional Community Manager Gavin Dacey.

WRU Participation & Retention National Lead Chris Ower added: “Mark is a hugely respected person in Welsh rugby, he represents all that is good and so important as a community volunteer and administrator, his knowledge and support to Clubs surrounding Mini, Junior and Youth rugby over the years has been invaluable and on behalf of the WRU we would like to express our gratitude and I hope he will now be able to afford more time with his lovely family and cheering on Cardiff RFC or Cardiff Blues from the Arms Park Terraces.”

There doesn't appear to be any tagged photos.

Upload and Tag Photos

You must be signed in to add comments