Live updates

Regions deny agreement over Warburton contract deal

The four Welsh regions have denied any agreement that Wales Captain Sam Warburton will be guaranteed to play regional rugby next season after signing Wales' first WRU 'central contract' at the weekend.

After signing the contract, his new employers - the WRU - had indicated Warburton would play his regional rugby in Wales with the Cardiff blues as part of the deal.

But in a statement issued by umbrella body Regional Rugby Wales, the regions said:

The introduction of one individual national contract at this particular time, however, leaves the Regions bemused and they would question the strategy behind the bizarre action by the WRU given that a final agreement on the future of Welsh Rugby has yet to be reached.

No overall framework has been agreed between the WRU and Regions, so no agreement to play centrally contracted players in the Regions currently exists.

Gatland commits to Wales until 2019

Warren Gatland has been Wales head coach since 2007 Credit: David Davies/PA

Wales head coach Warren Gatland has signed a new contract keeping him with the side until after the 2019 World Cup.

The Welsh Rugby Union announced the signing at a press conference earlier.

Gatland, who lead the British and Irish Lions to their first victory in 16 years this summer, has been touted as the front-runner to coach the team for a second time in 2017.

The 50-year-old New Zealander said: "I know the other major rugby nations take us seriously as opponents who can play excellent rugby and that inspires me to take this group of players even further.

"There is an incredible amount of hard work ahead but, with the backing of the Welsh Rugby Union, the national squad now has the means to deliver what the Welsh public want."

Advertisement

WRU announce record turnover

It's been a bumper year for Welsh rugby Credit: PA Wire

The Welsh Rugby Union has achieved its biggest ever turnover of £63 million pounds, according to its annual report published today.

The Union's debt is also at its lowest level since 1999, it's claimed. The figures chart the WRU's financial performance for the year ending June 30th 2012.

Shaun Edwards endorsed as part-time defence coach of London Irish

The Welsh Rugby Union has publicly endorsed Shaun Edwards’ new appointment as one day a week defence coach of London Irish.

It will keep Shaun at the very cutting edge of the game at a domestic level, as did his prior arrangement with London Wasps and that can only of benefit to Wales.

– WRU Spokesperson

Edwards, who signed up to be Wales assistant coach (defence) up to and including the 2015 Rugby World Cup last year, has been an integral part of the national squad and has played a key role in two RBS 6 Nations Grand Slams as well as helping his adopted nation to the 2011 RWC semi-finals.

Plans submitted for fifth rugby region

Plans have been submitted to the Welsh Rugby Union for a fifth rugby region in the South Wales Valleys. Valleys Rugby would be part-owned by the community, with the majority of matches played at Sardis Road. It's looking to compete in the Rabo Direct league and in Europe in the 2013/14 season.

Plans for Valleys Rugby were launched at Sardis Road earlier this month. The business model outlines a new type of structure for a region in Wales.

The ‘People’s Region’ is aiming to generate subscription from 10,000 fans at £100 per person, per annum, alongside commercial sponsorship.

Pontypridd-born Nigel Greenaway, who is behind the campaign, said

We are grateful that the WRU's Roger Lewis, Steve Phillips and others are taking our proposal seriously, in the manner in which was intended, and look forward to expanding on our vision when we meet in the near future.

Valleys Rugby has been massively encouraged by the response we have received in the few weeks since we launched, and we remain ever more certain that the Valleys must be represented once more at the top-table of Welsh rugby.

– Nigel Greenaway