South Wales MPs have welcomed the WRU’s announcement that regional rugby is to be reformed, and have written to WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis requesting a meeting so they can discuss the future of the game.
The letter from the MPs states:
“We understand the sporting and financial rationale which led to the establishment of regional teams.
“However, we feel that the social and economic costs paid by the communities in which the former first-class clubs sit, have been significant, and were perhaps not fully appreciated when the changes were first introduced.”
It goes on to ask:
“How the WRU can promote the return of top level rugby to the South Wales Valleys that have provided so many of Wales’ greatest players and that remain a fervent hotbed of the game.”
The letter comes just days after it was revealed that Welsh clubs from the Valleys region are also starting to demand action from the WRU, after Mid-District Union clubs wrote a joint letter to Mr Lewis in support of a regional club for the Valleys.
Commenting on the developments, Caerphilly MP Wayne David said:
“Valleys communities feel disenfranchised by the current regional set-up. This time, the WRU need to get the solution right for the fans and for the future of the game.”
Torfaen MP and former Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy added:
“In reforming Welsh rugby, the WRU must build on the strength of our traditional clubs like Pontypool. They cannot simply reduce the number of regional teams to make the numbers add up, they need a fundamental rethink.
“As representatives of Valleys communities, we’re determined to play our part to ensure the views of our constituents are heard on this issue.”
Owen Smith MP, who has been campaigning for the reform of regional rugby, said:
“Over 2,000 Welsh rugby fans have signed a petition calling for reform. Now the WRU is finally listening, it needs to hear the voice of those fans and support change that builds on the Welsh clubs, represents the Valleys and restores the health of domestic rugby.”
The full draft of the MPs’ letter is attached.
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