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.
The first governing body of Welsh rugby was called the South Wales Football Union. It was refounded in 1880 as the Welsh Football Union was formed in 1880 to organise an international match against England. It wasn't until 1934 that they adopted the name the Welsh Rugby Union.
The founding clubs of the WRU were Swansea C & FC, Pontypool RFC, Newport RFC, Merthyr RFC, Llanelli RFC, Bangor RFC, Brecon RFC, Cardiff RFC, Lampeter College RFC, Llandovery RFC and Llandeilo RFC.
The WRU are responsible for the running of Welsh rugby, including 293 member clubs, the Welsh national team and National Leagues and Cups. They also own the Millennium Stadium the home of Welsh rugby union.
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.