I wrote in the matchday programme last Saturday that, in the first two rounds of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations, Wayne Pivac’s side had given us all every reason to ‘believe’. Now they have brought home silverware, in the form of a Triple Crown trophy, which has provided a most welcome lift for the whole of Welsh rugby in these difficult times. Wayne has already said his feet are firmly grounded and the squad will not get ahead of themselves despite, now, being just two wins away from the title but there was something about the manner of victory over England at our own Principality Stadium which was particularly inspiring.
I was in attendance at the match and I can assure you that there is something surreal about Wales v England at Principality Stadium without our passionate fans; it feels wrong on so many levels including the lack of noise from the respective national anthems, clearly being able to hear the players’ on pitch calls to the distant buzz from the drones above the pitch carrying match day cameras.
Our work on creating opportunities and furthering our development last autumn has clearly helped and there is still plenty to work on and more rugby to be played, but our Wales side is now building from a position of strength and this is something we can re-enact as we address the wider hopes, ambitions and aspirations for our game at both professional and community level.
In these dark times it is easy for us all to forget what we have in Wales. Rugby is at the very heart of our national identity at a professional level and is a galvanising presence locally in communities throughout the country, North, West, South and East. The pictures of our Triple Crown winning squad celebrating in front of hundreds of rugby jerseys sent in by clubs from around Wales and placed in the South Stand perfectly symbolised this fact. It has been that way for 140 years and it will be so again once the pandemic is over and it is our job at the Welsh Rugby Union to ensure that the structures and plans are in place to enable this to happen as soon as the current restrictions are released.
We are putting plans in place to return community rugby activity once Welsh Government guidelines allow. An online meeting of Club Operations Managers has been called this week to start to put the wheels in motion for when the time is right.
We hope for more news on this front soon from Welsh Government and we will be in touch with detailed plans for the return of rugby on a domestic front this season and proposed extensions into the summer months as soon as that news arrives. (More on this below)
Until then, thank you all for your patience and I know you will all join me in wishing Wales and Wayne Pivac well for the final two rounds of the Championship as we look to Italy in round four and also await news of a re-arranged date for the Scotland’s round three clash with France.
Finally, I would like to personally repeat an important message which I know member clubs will accept and agree with and also help to reinforce throughout Welsh rugby. We were hugely saddened this week by the unwelcome and wholly unnecessary social media abuse levelled in some quarters after the match in Cardiff. Quite simply, this kind of behaviour is not acceptable in our game and is something we must stand against collectively as a rugby community.
Yours in rugby,