Rugby Champions Cup - replaces Heineken Cup. 20 teams: 6 English and French clubs, 7 from Pro 12 including best placed side from Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy. Final place decided by England/France playoff.
Challenge Cup - 20 teams, including 18 from Pro 12, Premiership and Top 14 + 2 other countries.
Qualifying Competition - 12-18 teams from developing nations and Italy
NEW MANAGING BODY:
European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR). Replaces ERC
An extra £1m a year for Welsh regions
Competition funding split equally between member leagues
SHARED BROADCASTING RIGHTS:
Sky and BT to show joint coverage of European competitions
The Welsh rugby squad have given their support to an all Wales campaign to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation.
‘The More You Know The More You See’ campaign, which is being run across all four Welsh police force areas featuring Captain Sam Warburton, Rhys Priestland and Mike Phillips.
The films aims to deliver a message that sexual exploitation is child abuse which puts young victims at risk of damage to their physical, emotional and psychological health, and highlights that many young people who are being abused don’t realise that they are at risk and so don’t ask for help.
Detective Superintendent John Hanson of North Wales Police, who led on the campaign, says, “If people know what to look out for they can take steps to help a child. People listen to their sporting icons and we are very grateful to the WRU for agreeing to help us deliver these important messages.”
The Welsh Rugby Union's chief executive says the uncertainty over competitions for next season is "close to resolution".
Roger Lewis has told ITV News a meeting is to be held tomorrow with colleagues from France, Ireland and England to "thrash out" details of a new European competition.
"Qualification through Europe will be through the Pro12. So the two competitions - the Pro12 and a European Cup competition - looks close to resolution," he added.
The subject has been one element of an ongoing dispute between the Welsh Rugby Union and the four regional teams, with additional concerns over funding and player control.
The four Welsh regions have denied any agreement that Wales Captain Sam Warburton will be guaranteed to play regional rugby next season.Read the full story ›
Regional Rugby Wales has released a statement on behalf of the four Welsh regions criticising the WRU after Sam Warburton signed a national contract with them.
The central contract means Sam will continue playing for the Cardiff Blues, but he'll be released from domestic duties for Wales games at no cost to the region.
The WRU described the agreement as a triumph in the interests of all Welsh rugby.
In a statement, RRW said:
"Firstly, it is important for the Welsh Regions to stress that they have the utmost respect for Sam Warburton as a player, a leader, a young man of great integrity and as an important role model for every young rugby player inside and outside Wales.
"At the same time, the Regions respect and support the right of Sam or any individual to make their own decision for their future based on their understanding of the choices available to them at any one time.
"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.
"The Regions would ask what kind of message this sends out about Welsh Rugby to our colleagues in the game across the world.
"The Regions would also question how one national contract works as a constructive and sustainable strategy for the whole of Welsh rugby given that we have some 200 professional players in Wales contracted to the Regions.
"The Regions are concerned about the impact of this action, the confusion it creates within Welsh Rugby at this time and how it may unsettle the balance of strong and close-knit team environments at the Regions."
Read the full statement here.
Former Wales player Rhys Williams has expressed his concern that players will be "used as pawns in tactical chess game" in on-going row.Read the full story ›
Wales Captain Sam Warburton's agent has said that because of the current fallout between the Welsh Rugby Union and the regions, "there are no cast iron guarantees that Sam will be able to play for Cardiff Blues next season."
Derwyn Jones says Warburton intends to play for the Blues next season should all the issues be resolved.
The warning comes after Warburton signed a WRU National Contract yesterday.
The WRU have said that Warburton will be released for Cardiff Blues games outside his Wales duties.
Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton has described his delight after securing his future in the domestic game in Wales. He's signed a Welsh Rugby Union National Contract, which means he will continue to play for the Cardiff Blues outside his Wales duties.
Under the arrangement his salary will be paid b the WRU and he should be released free of charge for Blues games. Warburton is the first senior player to sign such a contract:
I am delighted to commit my future to Welsh rugby. I would like to thank the WRU for its commitment to me."
The announcement comes just days after Warburton's teammate Leigh Halfpenny left the Blues in favour of joining Toulon.
Wales captain Sam Warburton has signed a Welsh Rugby Union National Contract. The plan is for him to continue playing for the Cardiff Blues, but that he will be released from domestic duties for Wales games at no cost to the Region.
The WRU have described the agreement as a triumph in the interests of all Welsh rugby.
More to follow.
The Six Nations Rugby competition gets going tomorrow but not for the first time in the Welsh game, off-field politics is overshadowing affairs on the pitch.
The Welsh Rugby Union remains locked in dispute with the four regional teams over funding, player control and competitions. Richard Morgan reports.