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Cardiff Blues: Owen Williams 'continues to make progress'

Cardiff Blues say injured player Owen Williams is making progress at Rookwood Hospital following a serious spinal injury he suffered in June.

Owen Williams tweeted his gratitude for messages of support at the start of August Credit: @Owilliams91

The club says that while Williams is at a "very early" stage of his recovery, he is now able to leave his hospital bed.

Owen is now tolerating periods of time sitting up in a wheelchair, allowing him the chance to spend short periods of time outside the hospital.

He is also starting to use the gym at the hospital for early upper limb rehabilitation.

– Cardiff Blues

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Gareth Maule thanks fans as he departs Scarlets

Gareth Maule scores a try for the Scarlets Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Bristol have signed centre Gareth Maule from the Scarlets in time for the new Championship season.

Wales Under 20 cap Maule played over 100 times for the Scarlets and also had stints at Newport Gwent Dragons, Ebbw Vale, Newport RFC and Cross Keys.

I depart with some invaluable memories, gathered in my years with this special club and feel honoured to have worn the famous Scarlet jersey on so many occasions and to join the list of centurions is something that makes me immensely proud. Being able to be part of so many memorable occasions and huge fixtures was a huge privilege.

A special mention must go to the supporters. From the day I arrived I felt welcome and was quick to realise that the Scarlets has its very own style and the fans are no different!

– Gareth Maule

RRW: Process 'protracted, tortuous and uncomfortable'

Following yesterday's announcement of a new agreement between the Welsh Rugby Union and the four regions, the chief executive of Regional Rugby Wales has described the process as 'very uncomfortable'.

His words appear to contradict an interview with WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis yesterday, in which Mr Lewis insisted negotiations had been amicable.

We rose above any of the stuff, the noise, that was said outside of the negotiating room - because within the negotiating chamber there wasn't a cross word, there wasn't a raised voice. There was no animosity whatsoever in the negotiating room. Outside of the room, we didn't comment. We retained our dignity.

– Roger Lewis, WRU chief executive, speaking yesterday

The new Rugby Services Agreement, which runs through until 2020, ends months of negotiations over the future of the professional game in Wales.

Regional Rugby Wales apologises for fans' "anxiety"

The chief executive of Regional Rugby Wales has apologised to fans for any "anxiety" during months of painstaking negotiations between the Welsh Rugby Union and the four regions over the future of the professional game.

A peace deal was finally agreed yesterday, with 10 players receiving dual contracts in a six-year £60million-plus agreement.

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WRU and Regional Rugby Wales agreement at a glance

Here are a few of the highlights of the new deal between the WRU and the Welsh rugby regions:

  • £8.7million a year to the regions, with £3.6m in loan facilities from the WRU
  • One-off £500,000 payment to each region on signing the agreement
  • National Dual Contracts for key players
  • Senior Player Selection Policy - players based outside Wales will be ineligible subject to a number of exceptions at the Head Coach's discretion
  • Number of foreign players in each region limited to six
  • Each region will be allowed two 'time-serving' foreign players who will be eligible for Welsh selection after three years residency
  • WRU retains the right to play up to 13 senior international games each year with a 13-day release facility for squad training before the Six Nations and Autumn Internationals
  • Management and responsibility for four regional academies for emerging talent transferred to the four regions with £600,000 support each year from the WRU.

Wales training bases for Rugby World Cup announced

Wales training at the Vale Resort in March. Credit: David Davies/PA Wire

Wales' two training bases for next year's Rugby World Cup have been announced.

The Vale Resort on the outskirts of Cardiff and London Irish RFC will be home to Warren Gatland's side during the competition.

Tournament organisers England 2015 have announced the 41 team bases across England and Wales that will host the 20 competing teams.

Gatland's squad, which reached the semi-finals of the competition in New Zealand three years ago, will spend their time between the two venues for the duration of their four pool encounters.

We are delighted to confirm that Wales will be based at the The Vale Resort and at London Irish during next year's tournament.

A great deal of effort has been put in to select the approved bases and we are very pleased to be based at two excellence sporting venues.

– Warren Gatland

Wales will share the facilities with France.

Other training venues in Wales are the Celtic Manor Resort, near Newport, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Sports Wales National Centre, also in Cardiff, and Swansea University.

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