WRU and regions strike peace deal
July 22, 2013
WRU chief executive Roger Lewis has welcomed the formation of the Professional Regional Game Board © Getty Images
The Welsh Rugby Union and the country's four regional sides - the Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets - appear to have settled a long-running row over the future of the professional game in Wales.
The two sides have been locked in a bitter war-of-words for several months with the formation of the Professional Regional Game Board (PRGB) last year failing to allay the regions' financial fears and ease the player drain that has seen a host of leading names lured overseas. However, they have now agreed the terms of a new re-vamped PRGB that they hope will improve the fortunes of the professional game in Wales.
The PRGB consists of five members from the WRU, one from each of the four regions and one representative from Regional Rugby Wales - the umbrella body representing the regional game. The High Court Judge, Sir Wyn Williams, has been installed as the independent, non-voting chairman.
The first full meeting of the PRGB at the Millennium Stadium last Thursday was attended by regional representatives Peter Thomas (Blues), Nigel Short (Scarlets), Martin Hazell (Dragons), Roger Blyth (Ospreys), Stuart Gallacher (chief executive, Regional Rugby Wales) and members of the WRU including group chief executive Roger Lewis and chairman David Pickering.
The PRGB's remit will include regional player contracts and recruitment, academy structures and associated player development, the marketing of regional rugby, collective regional revenue opportunities and resource management and regional financial planning and best practice.
"I am delighted we have reached agreement on the establishment of the PRGB," said Lewis. "Its creation is testimony to our determination to work together in the best interests of the regional game in Wales. Our first meeting was very constructive and I am confident it will be an active and meaningful forum through which positive changes can be achieved.
Gallacher added; "This is an encouraging step which builds on the discussions that have taken place alongside the work undertaken by PWC last year. All four regions have made significant progress towards establishing a sustainable business platform over the last two years and hope to be able to build on that work with the support of the WRU."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Bows, bouts and big hits, launches, lineouts and late tries. Here's the finest snaps from the last seven days: it's Week in Pictures time
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview