The Welsh Rugby Union has agreed a series of key objectives with Valleys Rugby which will be supported by the governing body to achieve a new impetus in an important heartland of the game in Wales.

A meeting has taken place of senior representatives of both organisations including WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis and Valleys Rugby founder Owen Smith, MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales.

The WRU and Valleys Rugby drew up a number of objectives aligned to the Union’s strategic plans for rugby and the organisation’s overarching aims.

The core agreement is based on a pledge by Valleys Rugby to seek out funding streams from within the UK and Europe which could unlock development plans to improve or create new elite facilities for rugby in the region.

A further meeting between the Union, Valleys Rugby and relevant politicians will now be called to refine the areas of discussion covered at the meeting which took place at the Millennium Stadium today.

The WRU supported Valleys Rugby’s aim of working towards improved facilities and possibly linking with an existing team to develop future competitive involvement within some level of the elite game.

The WRU and Valleys Rugby agreed that the proposals would not include any plan to impact on the current structure of four existing regions and a developing Principality Premiership Division supported by a new National Championship.

The strategic development of Valleys Rugby is to take note of the strategy adopted by Conwy County Borough Council which achieved a £5million investment in the Eirias sports facility in Colwyn Bay, home to the RGC 1404 squad.

The agreement achieved at the meeting is an understanding which does not contain a formal timetable but further discussions will take place with potential stakeholders.

Roger Lewis said: “I applaud the ambition and drive behind Valleys Rugby and the WRU will always seek to support initiatives which have the potential to improve the game in Wales.

“Owen Smith is now well placed to unlock new monies for rugby in all of Wales and in particular Valleys Rugby. We will support Mr Smith in his endeavours to source new funding for the game.

“The politicians in North Wales have led the way and we hope Mr Smith can match what they have achieved.

“We already have a refined elite structure of four regions and Valleys Rugby understands that the WRU will not waver from its priority of helping to develop that strata of our game.

“However in North Wales we have proved there is room for ambition and Valleys Rugby could make us all “watch this space” in future.”

Owen Smith, the Pontypridd MP, added: “I am pleased we have made an important breakthrough in our negotiations with the WRU and have had the opportunity to explain our plans in detail and align our aims.

“An astonishing 8,500 people have signed up to pledge £100 each in the community funding model we have championed for Valleys Rugby and that proves the depth of enthusiasm which exists for our ideas.

“With this level of support for our aims in the valleys it is important that the WRU answers the clarion call we are making on their behalf.

“Players, coaches, administrators and supporters from the valleys have helped make rugby the national sport of Wales and we must acknowledge that now and build on it in the future.”

Today’s meeting in Cardiff was also attended by Mark Ellis, a senior partner of PWC who led the WRU commissioned review into the financial operation of the four Welsh regions, and Nigel Greenaway from Berry Smith LLP who has been involved in producing the Valleys Rugby proposal to date.


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