Wed 13th May
Chairman’s comment Our stated ambition at the start of this crisis was to bring all of our clubs with us and to meet everyone again on the other side. We intend to be able to count the same number of clubs out, when the season starts once again, as we counted in at the beginning of March when the decision was taken to suspend play indefinitely based on government advice and we are progressing well.
Through our Covid-19 working group, which has been set up to look at both the performance and the community side of our game, we are creating a set of guidelines, based on, linked to and moving alongside government guidelines. Our guidelines will cover all aspects of prospective return to play from safety and hygiene to player practice, supporter integration and club-house management. We hope member clubs will have noticed, we have ramped up our communication practices, writing in detail twice a week, but also asking our regional managers to make as much direct contact as possible, as these are the relationships that will be vital to our future sustainability. We have also now received responses from over 200 clubs to a survey which specifically targets sustainability during the current crisis. This information is vitally important to us as we continue to formulate plans to return to rugby. The information we have received from our clubs will help us to ensure that they emerge with us intact into a post-lockdown world when the time is right and that they emerge ready to return to positions at the heart of communities throughout Wales. There is more information to come about this survey and its relationship to potential further funding, but suffice to say this kind of information gathering and our collective response will continue to pay dividends in the long term and presents us with a huge opportunity to create a financially stable club environment for the future. All the decisions we are taking on funding are geared towards, support, maintenance and survival of our member clubs. We issued a payment to our clubs of £1,000 each in March from a hardship fund designed to help combat the effects of the current crisis, this was on top of specific funding to clubs which had been affected be the recent flooding issues after Storm Dennis, and our regular quarterly audit payment to clubs was made as normal at the end of April. Given these payments and external support from Welsh Government, the Survey indicates that the majority of our clubs will continue to be sustainable for a minimum of six months. This is excellent news given the current situation, but we know that this would not be the case if this support wasn’t available and we are concerned that some clubs may still be falling through the cracks in terms of accessing Welsh Government funding. While our clubs have been widely impacted by Storm Dennis and the Covid-19 Pandemic, for some their financial situation cannot be fully on account of these situations. Some clubs have reported just one or two months of reserves available to them in April 2020 and this suggests a club living beyond its means. I don’t make this point to criticise individuals or even specific clubs, but to point to the opportunity for us all to work together to ensure financial models throughout our game are sustainable and fit for purpose. We will do this together, just as we will emerge from this current situation as one. We are the Welsh Rugby Union, a union of clubs, and we are here for you just as you are here for us. Yours in rugby, Gareth Davies WRU chairman Rugby law change:- The World Rugby Council has announced that, with immediate effect, it will no longer be possible to score a try by grounding the ball against the post protector unless the ball is touching the goal-line. At its meeting today, the World Rugby Council approved a minor amendment to Law 8.2 relating to scoring against the base of the post. The minor amendment to Law 8.2 was approved by the World Rugby Council during its special meeting held via teleconference today and follows a recommendation by the international federation’s Rugby Committee and specialist Laws Review Group. With defending players currently legally obliged to stay behind the goal-line and post-protector shape and size increasing for welfare reasons, it is increasingly difficult for teams to legally defend this area. In some extreme cases, post protectors have been lifted or moved by defending teams, leaving the posts exposed and therefore increasing the risk of injury. The amended law will now read: The post protector is no longer an extension of the goal-line and therefore Law 8.2 (a) will read: A try is scored when the attacking player a) is first to ground the ball in the opponents’ in-goal.