|Photograph © Brynmeillion
|The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) (Welsh: Undeb Rygbi Cymru) is the governing body of rugby union in Wales, recognised by the International Rugby Board.
Prince William of Wales is to become the Vice Royal Patron of the Welsh Rugby Union from February 2007.
After the national team the next highest level of representation in Wales is the four regions based around top club sides, but representing a larger area. These regions came into being in 2003 when the WRU elected to reduce the current top tier of Welsh professional rugby union from nine clubs into five regions modelled on the successful Irish provinces and the Super 12 franchises in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The WRU had hoped to reduce the teams to four regions but Cardiff and Llanelli successfully argued for stand-alone status. After one year the Celtic Warriors region folded leaving Wales with only four regions.
These are the Cardiff Blues, Llanelli Scarlets, Ospreys and Newport Gwent Dragons. They play in the Celtic League, European Rugby Cup and European Rugby Shield competitions. Each region may call up players from a set of club teams within their area. These top club sides play in the 14-strong Welsh Premier Division.
They also have major roles in the development of coaches, referees and players throughout all ages for both men and women.
|Map by Alexander Jones
|Welsh Premier Division
The Welsh Premier Division (also called the Principality Premiership for sponsorship reasons) is a rugby union league in Wales first implemented for the 1990/91 season.
For the 2000/01 and 2001/02 seasons it was renamed the Welsh-Scottish League with the addition of Edinburgh and Glasgow alongside the Welsh teams.
Originally at the top tier of rugby in Wales, the league lost this status in 2003 with the implementation of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU)’s “Regional Rugby” plan, by which the country would be represented in top-level competitions (i.e., the Celtic League and Heineken Cup) by five (now four) regionally-based sides. The clubs in the Premier Division became largely developmental sides for the regional teams.
Over succeeding years the league structure was to be changed in order to strengthen the structure of the semi-pro sides feeding the regions. Under the WRU’s plan, playing records and facilities will be the main criteria in determining which clubs would stay in the Premiership.
In the 2005-2006 season the Welsh Premier Division consisted of 16 clubs. Division One Champions Maesteg and runners-up Glamorgan Wanderers were promoted from Division 1 to join 14 clubs who played Premiership rugby the previous season. The clubs relegated down to Division 1 were Caerphilly, Llanharan and Newbridge, thus, reducing the division from 17 to 16 clubs.
For the 2006-2007 season, the Welsh Premier Division was reduced once more to 14 teams. The 2006-2007 league was won by Neath RFC, making it three wins in three years.
|Correct as of 2007-04-18
1990/1991 Neath RFC
1991/1992 Swansea RFC
1992/1993 Llanelli RFC
1993/1994 Swansea RFC
1994/1995 Cardiff RFC
1995/1996 Neath RFC
1996/1997 Pontypridd RFC
1997/1998 Swansea RFC
1998/1999 Llanelli RFC
1999/2000 Cardiff RFC
2000/2001 Swansea RFC
2001/2002 Llanelli RFC
2002/2003 Bridgend Ravens
2003/2004 Newport RFC
2004/2005 Neath RFC
2005/2006 Neath RFC
2006/2007 Neath RFC
|Wales National Rugby Union Team