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New hybrid pitch unveiled at Millennium Stadium

The Millennium Stadium's new hybrid pitch has been officially unveiled by the Welsh Rugby Union.

The DESSO pitch - made from grass turf and synthetic material - replaces the old system of removable turf pallets, deemed unsuitable for the demands of modern rugby.

Head Groundsman Lee Evans, Wales scrum half Mike Phillips, Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates, WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis and Groundsman Craig Campbell launch the new pitch at the Millennium Stadium Credit: Credit: WRU

Chief Executive Roger Lewis said the new pitch would transform the playing surface and enhance the worldwide reputation of the home of Welsh rugby.

It has been unveiled in time for Wales to take on Australia in the first of the Dove Men Series autumn international matches this Saturday.

Successful future of Welsh rugby down to grassroots, says new chair

The new chairman of the Welsh Rugby Union has told ITV Wales that his appointment is a turning point for the game here.

The Dragons Chief Executive Gareth Davies replaces David Pickering who failed to secure re-election to the board.

Mr Davies says he wants to move on from past wranglings between the regions and the Union, and concentrate on the 'grassroots' to insure a prosperous future.

Gareth Davies appointed as new WRU chairman

Gareth Davies and WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis Credit: Welsh Rugby Union

The Board of Directors of the WRU have voted Gareth Davies as the new Chairman of the governing body to replace David Pickering.

Gareth Davies will be terminating his contract as Chief Executive of the Newport Gwent Dragons after a suitable notice period and will take up the post with immediate effect.

The Board voted for the new chairman in a secret ballot after both Gareth Davies and current Board director Martin Davies were nominated as candidates for the position.

Davies takes over from Pickering, who has spent the last 11 years as chairman.

He said:

"It is a fantastic honour to be elected Chairman of the WRU and I will aim to live up to my old Gwendraeth School moto which is : "There is no honour without responsibility.”

"I want to thank the Board of Directors for their support and confidence in my ability to represent the WRU in this prodigious role. I have also been encouraged by the support I have already received from so many grassroots clubs.

"I also want to personally thank the departing Chairman, David Pickering, for the immense contribution he has made across the past eleven years he held this post."

The Group Chief Executive of the WRU, Roger Lewis, said:

"We all know how important the Chairman of the WRU is in Wales, not just for our sport, but for the position rugby holds within the cultural life of our nation.

"I look forward to working closely with Gareth as we seek to sustain and develop our role as the national sport of Wales and a key nation at the top level of the world game."

In a further vote by the Board Ken Hewitt was elected to continue as Deputy Chairman of the WRU.

WRU: 'Record re-investment into the game'

Credit: PA

The WRU says re-investment into the game by the governing body is at record levels.

During the last financial year the WRU allocated £22.5 million into rugby an increase on the previous period at £22.1 million.

In this year's annual report the WRU also posted a profit before tax of £2.4 million on a turnover of £58.5 million for the period.

The total rugby allocations stand at just over £4.3 million for the community game, £1.1 million for the Principality Premiership and £17.1 million for the Regions in Wales.

It also says during the year the repayable bank debt was reduced to £15.0 million.


Two changes to Wales side ahead of Springboks game

Roger Lewis: 'The WRU has retained its dignity'

"Through the past six months, the Welsh Rugby Union has retained its dignity" said WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis.

"We have not been dragged into the gutter to exchange playground insults with others."

"It's been a dark day, instigated by a very very small minority of people, and the reason I emphasise that, hundreds and hundreds of men and women supported the Welsh rugby union today" he said.

"We only had four people against us in that vote of no confidence, and the rest, hundreds, supported the Union, and that is the true reflection of where we are in Wales today."

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