Welsh Rugby
Wales create new professional board
ESPN Staff
December 5, 2012
Wales' Mike Phillips reflects on a game that got away from his side, Wales v Australia, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, December 1
Wales lost every game during their autumn Test series © PA Photos
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The eight objectives of the PRGB

  • To underpin, support and maximise performance of the national teams
  • To improve the overall financial management of the Regions
  • To help retain senior Welsh internationals playing in Wales where appropriate
  • To develop Welsh international players
  • To achieve four Regions which can effectively compete at the top of European rugby within five years
  • To support the Principality Premiership
  • To ensure the continued support and development of the community game
  • To ensure the continued sustainability of the Millennium Stadium

The Welsh Rugby Union and the four regions have created a new board that will preside over the professional rugby scene in Wales.

The announcement comes in the wake of a report into the regional game by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which criticised the current methods by which Welsh rugby is run. It claimed that the four Welsh regions - the Ospreys, the Blues, the Dragons and the Scarlets - are effectively spending more money than they can afford and it also criticised "poor management".

With that in mind, a Professional Regional Game Board has been established - which is made up of four representatives from the WRU, one representative from each of the four regions and a chairman. The purpose of the Board is "to improve the position and strength of Welsh professional rugby, both on and off the field, supported with additional resource from the WRU".

The four Welsh regions are currently struggling financially and on the field. Both the Blues and the Scarlets are unlikely to trouble the latter stages of the Heineken Cup while the Ospreys will hope to come through a pool that involves the Leicester Tigers and Toulouse. But WRU CEO Roger Lewis is hopeful that the newly formed Board will help change those fortunes.

"The formation of the new Professional Regional Game Board is a landmark moment in the history of Welsh rugby," Lewis said. "By working together, we will create a unity of purpose for Welsh professional rugby which will be underpinned by collective management, enhanced with greater central resources and structured to ensure effective decision-making.

"The PRGB will play a significant role in helping regional rugby make real progress, both on and off the field, in the years ahead. The PwC report confirmed to all of us in uncompromising detail that we have to act very differently, so we have worked hard in a spirit of unity to forge a structure that can provide workable and meaningful solutions. It is abundantly clear that we have to forge a strong and collaborative working partnership going forward and the new PRGB will be vehicle for that.

"The PwC report did not make easy reading for anyone involved and the boards and management of the Regions should be proud of the way they have confronted some tough realities to reach this point. A lot of hard work lies ahead, but the PRGB offers us a management structure capable of making the tough but realistic decisions which will benefit the game as a whole. Over the course of the next twelve months we have to build a foundation for the future."

Each Welsh region will establish a five-year business plan with the PRGB undertaking quarterly reviews to monitor their progression. Speaking on behalf of the four regions, the CEO of the Scarlets, Mark Davies, said: "For Welsh rugby to be truly successful we must all ensure that the game is healthy and sustainable for the long term at every level of the sport.

"To achieve that aim within finite resources and a harsh economic climate the only way forward is to work effectively together and use those resources wisely in the pursuit of a clear and common goal. The PRGB is the result of a period of genuine, open and constructive dialogue, assisted by the initiative of the PwC review with the WRU and the four regions committing to deliver on clear and agreed objectives over time, as the first step towards securing a healthy future for the professional game in Wales.

"The work that we have undertaken together over the last twelve months has demonstrated that there are no simple answers - we have a lot more hard work ahead of us, but by utilising the collective expertise within the WRU and the regions we are all determined that we will define and deliver the right solutions for the future."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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