Gallacher: Four region system is working
February 5, 2012
Wales are experiencing a rejuvenation under Sam Warburton © Getty Images
The head of Regional Rugby Wales Stuart Gallacher claims the make-up of the Wales side to face Ireland illustrates that the four-region system is working.
With 19 of the 22 players in the squad to face Ireland having come through the development system in Wales, Gallacher sees this as proof that the four regions - the Cardiff Blues, Ospreys, Scarlets and the Dragons - who are plying their trade in the Celtic league are helping herald in the next generation of Welsh talent.
Gallacher said: "When you look at the team that's been selected for this huge opening game for Wales, and see how many of these up and coming players have come through the Welsh rugby development pathways - it gives you a sense of the good work that is being done.
"If international honours are the benchmark for this rugby nation - then it really is testimony to the effectiveness of the Welsh rugby development pathways operating between WRU, Regions and Premiership Clubs and to see in Wales the level at which we have brought through such exciting Welsh talent.
"A lot is said about the movement of players outside Wales at the moment as well as the impact of overseas players on our game in Wales within the regions. However the positive focus and reality is that we have a growing group of young players representing Wales who have been developed through regional academies, Premiership and Regional Rugby and it shows it's working well."
And Gallacher has also highlighted Wales' recent success as a direct correlation with the introduction of the four-region system back in 2003. "For 27 years before the implementation of structured development pathways and establishment of Regional Rugby there were no Grand Slams for Wales," Gallacher said. "Since the establishment of the regions, Wales has won two Grand Slams, World Rugby Sevens, was the talk of last year's Rugby World Cup and with the regional sides winning silverware in Europe and the Anglo Welsh competitions as well as regular Celtic League top spots and play-offs."
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