WRU Status Update – 25/03/20
Welsh Rugby Union chairman Gareth Davies has written to member clubs praising the empathetic attitude shown in a universally supportive response to the decision to cancel the 2019/20 domestic season last week.
Davies singled out Pontypool rugby club, who were bidding for promotion to the Indigo Group Premiership as they looked for a fourth successive SWALEC Championship title in a season where automatic promotion was available, as an example of how the decision was taken in ‘good grace and proper perspective’ across the board in Wales.
“We received a flurry of responses understandably expressing disappointment but all showing absolute empathy for the situation we are all in,” said Davies.
“This attitude was exemplified by Pontypool rugby club who wrote an open letter accepting with good grace and proper perspective the decision which has meant no relegation or promotion for anyone this season.
“And this is an attitude which has permeated throughout the country, across the length and breadth of Wales the community game has universally accepted the decision and is rallying round in support of those most in need and here, at the Welsh Rugby Union, we will continue to do all we can to support this act.”
Davies was speaking in the WRU’s weekly status update, issued today (Wednesday 25th March) which expounds a continually evolving plan for Welsh rugby ‘to emerge from the current crisis with all teams and clubs, whether they be amateur, semi-professional or professional, intact and able to have a sustainable future’.
The update also spells out the steps being taken to help community clubs, confirming that each has now received a £1,000 hardship payment, also commits to searching for new funds and offers advice on a range of club-specific issues, such as cost cutting and reducing bills, cellar management, a bank loan payment holiday and advice on seeking Welsh Government new business support packages.
It confirms that Women and girls rugby falls in line with the announcement of the cancellation of all WRU Competition for 2019/20 season and, for further clarity, that this cancellation includes the Women and Girls cup competition that began in March. In addition the WRU Female Hubs and the provision of alternative formats for senior women will be reviewed in line with government advice on an ongoing basis as will the Regional Programme (Seniors and U18s) set to take place in June, July and August.
In the professional game clubs were also updated on event postponements from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where Jaz Joyce, Hannah Jones and Keira Bevan had already been named as part of Team GB, to the men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments in London and Paris, the women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in Langford, the final men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series event, Rugby World Cup 2021 and 2023 regional qualifying events and the cancellation of the World Rugby U20 Championship 2020.
But, with the hugely positive news that CEO Martyn Phillips is now set to stay on at the helm of the WRU for the foreseeable future – to help Welsh rugby through these unusual times – planning for the resumption of rugby, once the conditions are right, continues.
“We continue to work with our partners at Six Nations, European Professional Club Rugby and PRO14 to find the way ahead,” said Phillips.
“The prospect of re-scheduling events is something that is still forming a part of contingency planning for a time when the pandemic has abated.
“WRU Board has been updated on plans to mitigate the risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic on WRU business and the professional game in Wales in general and regular meetings are taking place with the Professional Rugby Board (PRB) and Welsh Rugby Players Association (WRPA) in order to manage the negative impact on the elite end of the game.
“The Union is engaged in a constant process of financial modelling and re-modelling, to contingency plan for all foreseeable scenarios.
“A good outcome would be that the pandemic subsides by May or June and this season could be completed in the summer, but what we must do in the meantime is plan for every contingency.”