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The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) ( ) is the governing body of rugby union in Walesmarker, recognised by the International Rugby Board.

The union's patron is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and, despite openly being a supporter of the England national rugby union team, her grandson Prince William of Wales became the Vice Royal Patron of the Welsh Rugby Union as of February 2007.


The roots of the Welsh Rugby Union lay in the creation of the South Wales Football Club in September 1875; formed:

The South Wales Football Club was superseded in 1878 by the South Wales Football Union in an attempt to bring greater regulation to the sport and to select representatives from club sides to represent the international game. The SWFU organised an international match against England in 1880. The match took place on the 19th February 1881, and was won by England 7 goals, 1 dropped goal and 6 tries to nil. This heavy defeat lay the seeds for further reforms that would lead to the creation of the WRU.

There is confusion regarding the official date of creation of the Welsh Rugby Union. In March 1880 nine teams supposedly met at the Tenby Hotel, Swanseamarker with the intent of creating a new union. These teams are thought to have been, Cardiff RFC, Chepstow RFC, Haverfordwest RFC, Llandaff RFC, Llanelli RFC, Neath RFC, Newport RFC, Pontypridd RFCmarker and Swansea RFC. The issue with accepting this meeting is that there is no written evidence, just oral repetition.

On 12 March 1881, eleven clubs met in the Castle Hotel, Neathmarker to form what would be accepted as a Welsh rugby union. After a humiliating defeat in the very first Wales international rugby game, the Neath meeting was organised by Richard Mullock to form a union that could organise regular international matches. The founding clubs of the WFU (Welsh Football Union), as it was originally known, were Swansea C & FC, Pontypool RFC, Newport RFC, Merthyr RFC, Llanelli RFC, Bangor RFC, Brecon RFC, Cardiff RFC, Lampeter RFC, Llandovery RFC and Llandeilo RFC. Strangely the oldest rugby club in Wales, Neath RFC are not recorded as being present, even though the meeting took place in the town of Neath. It is unknown if this was an oversight by the committee to record the presence of the club, or if Neath RFC actually did not attend. The fact that two of the main committee members of the SWFU, John Llewellyn and Sam Clark were Neath men, and the creation of the WFU disbanded their union, is generally accepted as the reason for the absence of a Neath representative.

The WRU was a founding member of the International Rugby Board in 1886 with Scotland and Ireland, with Mullock and Horace Lyne the Welsh representatives at the formal signing of the union in 1887.

It wasn't until 1934 that the name, the Welsh Rugby Union, was adopted.


The WRU are responsible for the running of Welsh rugby, including 293 member clubs, the Welsh national team and National Leagues and Cups. The Welsh Rugby Union has a major role in the development of coaches, referees and players throughout all ages for both men and women. They also own the home of Welsh rugby union, the 74,500 capacity Millennium Stadiummarker, Cardiff, "an icon of the modern Wales".

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 14 franchises in South Africa, Australia and New Zealandmarker. 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 was closed down by David Moffett and WRU Chairman David Pickering leaving Wales with only four regions. The four surviving regional clubs are 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.

In August 2008 WRU chief Roger Lewis confirmed that the body was looking at a proposal to reinstate a fifth Welsh region, based in North Wales. Lewis admitted that he regretted the decision in 2004 to close down Celtic Warriors. In September 2008 a new North Wales Rugby development team was announced, likely to be based in Wrexhammarker. In the same month Llanelli Scarlets changed their name to simply Scarlets, believing the new name would better represent their region beyond Llanellimarker.




Position no longer exists

Honorary Treasurers

See also

External links



  1. Smith (1980), pg 34-40.
  2. Smith (1980), pg 37.
  3. Smith (1980), pg 41.
  4. Smith (1980), pg 42-43.
  5. Smith (1980), pg 45.

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