Welsh Rugby Union chairman Gareth Davies provides the latest status update from the governing body.
“The joy this week on the face of my young grandson, Tom, when he told me he was getting back into rugby training with the rest of his friends at Clwb Rygbi Cymry Caerdydd U7s was succour for the soul. I know that this is a feeling repeated the length and breadth of the country as our clubs, hubs and community teams take their first steps towards returning, safely, to rugby. I commend our club operations, medical performance and community rugby teams for creating the guidelines in accordance with the Welsh Government to enable this process. We have taken some small steps but they are determinedly steps in the right direction.
“In the professional game too our regional teams have entered a new phase in their return to rugby with training now full contact and able to resemble pre-Covid-19 routines and patterns, whilst observing the stringent safety protocols that have been put in place. I know the aims and objectives here are very much to keep the virus off the pitch and away from the professional rugby environment altogether rather than to try to play the game itself in a different way, but we will continue to watch and learn from other nations who are ahead of us as well as other sports.
“Sports like football, which could potentially provide a host venue for Wales’ replayed 2020 Six Nations match against Scotland. There is still much to be decided in terms of crowd access, which will directly influence our choice of venue, but we now have a confirmed fixture (see details). Again, it is these small steps which give us all hope and we look forward to the next positive move forward on this front, which would be test events in front of small crowds. Once we have a venue then we will, assuming crowds are permissible, be making tickets available at the earliest opportunity. We know supporters are keen to return with around 25% of those seeking refunds on the original Scotland fixture choosing the credit or donate options we have offered. I would like to personally thank all those fans who have shown their support for Welsh rugby in this manner and in particular those who have donated the money they spent on tickets, which has provided well over £20,000 in extremely welcome funds to our game already.
“Next week we will begin the interview process for the next chief executive of the WRU, to succeed Martyn Phillips who will leave us in the autumn. Martyn extended his tenure having planned to step down after the Rugby World Cup and I know I speak on behalf of the Union in thanking him for ‘stepping up’. Not only has he led the WRU from the front during this period, he has been in the thick of the global issues facing the game, representing not only Wales but the best interests of the sport. He’ll be a tough act to follow. We have half a dozen extremely high calibre candidates to talk to and I am very much looking forward to beginning this process. This is a role of huge importance to Welsh rugby and we will be doing all that we can to ensure that we find the right individual to lead our executive team at this time of both great flux and opportunity for the game on an international scale.
“Finally, now that nominations have been closed for the position of National Council Member I would like to reiterate my desire to offer a period of continuity and stability to Welsh rugby by serving a further term during these tough times.
“If member clubs decide they want me to do so, I will take up the mantle during what would be my third and final term with as much passion and enthusiasm as I did in my first. I am looking forward to engaging further with member clubs in the weeks ahead to explain fully my motivations for standing and my plans for the future. However, suffice to say here, I still feel the same sense of duty and allegiance to Welsh rugby that I did in 2014 when I was first elected and I cannot justify to myself the thought of leaving at what is possibly our national game’s time of greatest need.”
Yours in rugby,
Nominations for National Council Member
Nominations are now in and three candidates will stand for the National Council Member role currently held by chairman Gareth Davies.
In accordance with Article 57 of WRU’s Articles of Association, ballot papers will be issued to member clubs in the next few days, along with copies of the relevant candidate profile documentation. Incumbent Davies will be joined by Ieuan Evans and Nigel Davies on the ballot paper.
No further candidates were nominated for any of the available District Council Member roles.
Bryn Parker (District A); Dave Young (District B); Ray Wilton (District C); Chris Morgan (District D) and Phil Thomas (District E) will therefore be re-appointed as District Council Members for their respective Districts.
Each will serve a three-year term commencing as of the close of this year’s Annual General Meeting (which will be held on 18th October 2020).
Return to Rugby
We have entered the latest stage in our phased Return to Community Rugby plan. WRU Community online registration opened on Saturday – more than 19,000 players and volunteers registered over the weekend – and, providing the necessary steps have been followed by players, coaches and clubs, we can now sanction organised non-contact and small group training. In addition, following the advice from the Welsh Government update last Friday (July 31), our 7s to under 11s ONLY can now include tag and touch rugby in their training sessions.
However, with player welfare of paramount importance after four months away from the game, we are still not sanctioning contact rugby at any level so there should be no rucking, mauling, tackling, scrums or line-outs at any level this time. We will continue to review this and provide regular updates.
In readiness for this phase, detailed advice has been issued to those involved in the community game in Wales and a series of webinars have been held with Club Operations Managers and other key volunteers covering key areas such as the practicalities of preparing players, volunteers and club facilities for training sessions; changes to first aid procedures; the registration process and a return to training fund for clubs. Click for all advice and guidance on the return to play protocols
In addition, the WRU Community coaching department has produced an activity guide and webinar for coaches to support the safe return to training at all levels of the game which includes safety guidance and ideas for session plans within the current restrictions.
All the links you need
* CLICK HERE for the World Rugby Covid awareness course.
*Go to wrugamelocker.wales to complete all other Return to Community Rugby steps – the WRU online registration process, the Covid symptom checker and for all coaching support.
Any new players, coaches or volunteers to the game will also need to follow the above process before attending club training.
As stated registrations are now open for coaches, referees and team managers for the forthcoming season, all parties must re-register before taking part in any WRU sanctioned training.
Clubs will also need to approve registrations ahead of any activity. Please be aware that this applies to ALL coaches, across ALL age groups male and female (including senior men and women), intending to coach rugby for ANY rugby club/female hub this coming season.
If you are under 18, you are required to enter in parent/guardian information, or you can have your parent/guardian register you on your behalf using the same process as below.
To register as a coach, you must visit the WRU’s Game Locker , and login with your username and password.
2020 WRU Disability Conference
On Sunday 23rd August 2020 (10:00-14:00) the WRU will be holding their first virtual Inclusive Coaching Conference.
The conference is aimed at anyone with an interest in developing opportunities for people with disabilities in sport through coaching – either in a disability / mixed ability setting or within the wider rugby community.
We are delighted that athletes, players and coaches from across the Disability Rugby Landscape are with us to share their knowledge across these areas through a range of keynote presentations and panel discussions.
The WRU Inclusive Coaching Conference is live on Eventbrite, for registration via this link
Please book on now to reserve your place.
John Manders is the new man on the WRU National Council, after being voted on by the member clubs in Wales.
Tune into the latest WRU Podcast for a chance to hear much more from the man himself, his background, what he hopes to achieve and the remarkable project which is transforming his beloved Old Illtydians Rugby Club.
PAUL JAMES GRADUATES
Paul James made over 200 appearances for the Ospreys in two spells and won 66 Test caps for Wales, so he knows what it takes to be successful at the highest level.
Now he has transferred into coaching by working with the Swansea-based region’s academy and James believes the future is bright at the Liberty Stadium.
Able to prop both sides of the scrum during his playing career, James played at two World Cups, won a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2012, and a Championship title the following year.
He was among a hand-picked group of players who last September, in conjunction with the regions and the Welsh Rugby Players Association, began the inaugural 12-month long Player to Coach programme overseen by WRU Performance Coach Manager Dan Clements.
James is joined on the ground-breaking scheme by Ospreys colleagues Justin Tipuric, Bradley Davies, James Hook and Rob McCusker, Scarlets duo Leigh Halfpenny and Angus O’Brien along with Dragons’ Aaron Jarvis and Brok Harries and Cardiff Blues’ Dan Fish. On completion of the course, James, like his fellow graduates, will shortly secure a UKCC Level 3 award in coaching rugby union.
READ MORE HERE
JABBA STAYS PUT
Former Wales hooker Steve Jones believes the struggles experienced by his Bridgend players to stay afloat in the Indigo Group Premiership last season will help them not to sink when rugby returns for the 2020-21 campaign.
With only three wins in 18 games before the season was cut short due to coronavirus, the Ravens were in danger of dropping out of the top-flight. They were eight points adrift of Llanelli and Ebbw Vale who also had games in hand.
But hopes are high for a change in fortunes when rugby returns with Jones leading the coaching group at the Brewery Field for a second season.
FINALLY… DONOVAN REMEMBERED
They don’t pack the stand at Pandy Park like they used to these days, but they came in big numbers for Richie Donovan’s final appearance at his former stamping ground.
The former Cross Keys prop had an emotional send-off before being laid to rest after losing his brave battle with cancer earlier this month.
Mourners filled the stand as his coffin was carried onto the field where he played so many of his 413 games for the club.
The 63-year-old prop had been fighting the disease with the same all-out commitment and tenacity he displayed on the field throughout an outstanding career that also took in appearances for Pontypool, Newport, Abertillery, Monmouthshire, Crawshay’s and UWIC.