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Jobs for the boys from the WRU

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Martyn Phillips: WRU will give players a leg-up after they retire

Martyn Phillips: WRU will give players a leg-up after they retire

ALREADY wealthy former professional rugby players will be given a step into high-profile positions at big businesses within Wales and the WRU itself thanks to the launch of the WRU’s new Professional Player Development Programme.

The initiative will provide a pipeline of talented leaders into Welsh industry as well as helping to increase retention of players within Wales during their playing careers.

The programme consists of five elements including mentoring – provided by senior leaders from business and sport – psychometric testing to help determine future job compatibility and performance, support to obtain academic qualifications, work placements, and financial management and advice.

Welsh national age grade sides, women and all regional professional players will be covered by the scheme in future and, resource permitting, the WRU is also currently looking to support recently retired Welsh players where possible.

“We have been clear about our desire to retain talented players in Wales and this programme is part of our commitment to that goal,” said WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips.

“A rugby player’s career is relatively short compared to that of somebody in more traditional employment and we feel we have a duty of care to ensure a successful playing career is followed by a successful career post retirement from the game.”

The WRU has agreements in place with the majority of Welsh universities, as well as other further education establishments, to provide access to education and training on a part time basis as part of the programme and the scheme will eventually extend down to regional players, women and into the academies.

Many senior leaders from the worlds of business and sport have already signed up to the mentoring part of the programme, with the Union appealing globally for further interested parties with Welsh connections to get in touch and join the scheme.

“We went right to the top and asked the Universities if we could send players their way, asked that they be flexible about the players’ time when they are still playing, and for them to help facilitate the whole process – we were warmly received,” said Phillips.

“There are up to 300 careers available, everything from the traditional trades like bricklaying and plumbing to those that require academic qualifications like accountancy, law and medicine and we are appealing for new mentors to come forward.

“We see our players demonstrate courage, integrity, dedication and team work week-in-week out on the pitch.

“These are characteristics which are valuable in any modern business environment and I am confident that any player who embarks on the programme will be a huge asset to any organisation.

“With the level of drive the players show, their leadership and resilience as international sportsmen, they are very likely to be successful in their careers.

“We want to enable lifelong success as opposed to just playing success. We are trying to offer the players a 40- year career, 15 of which will be playing rugby and the other 25 doing something else.”

The Welsh senior international squad were told of the plans – warmly welcomed by Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton, the coach and captain – at a recent meeting.

Phillips has also spoken to many ex-Welsh Internationals who have helped reinforce the need for such an initiative.

And the WRU has set up a new department and solid structures to lead players into new careers of all sorts when their active playing careers end.

“Rugby should not mean that you have a decent career then we throw you to the wolves,” he added.

“We are trying to take away the pressure on players and their families when they are trying to earn it all when still playing.

“We are going to be working on the next thing in which they can be successful, the next thing that gives them a buzz.”

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Community

Scarlets’ grassroots clubs show community spirit in delivering vital food packages

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Scarlets community clubs have been working together to help deliver vital food packages across the region.


Volunteers from grassroots clubs and WRU girls hubs across Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire have been helping take the food packages to vulnerable members of society who are self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic.


The clubs have teamed up with the Scarlets Community Foundation — the charity arm of the Scarlets — and Carmarthen-based food wholesaler Castell Howell, while Scarlets players Osian Knott, Kieran Hardy, Ryan Conbeer and Jac Morgan have also lent their hand to the operation.


More than 300 packages were due to be delivered on Monday and Tuesday (April 6 & April 7), with the initiative highlighting that even without any action on the field, rugby clubs remain at the heart of their community.
Scarlets Community Foundation manager Caroline Newman said:  “We have been overwhelmed with the support that we have received from local clubs, the number of people prepared to volunteer to help the most vulnerable in our communities has been touching.


“People’s reasons for requesting packs have often been heart-wrenching and it really has made us appreciate what we have.


“The foundation has worked closely with Castell Howell to make sure the packages are ready to go to those whose need is greatest, managing to turn things around pretty quickly and I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in making this happen, our funder, Castell Howell, all the clubs, our helpline volunteer and the foundation members.
“Great teamwork which has made me proud to be part of the fantastic community that rugby creates.”

Here are the rugby clubs and WRU girls rugby hubs taking part in the initiative

Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, Amman Utd, Ammanford, Burry Port, Betws, Bynea, Cardigan, Cefneithin, Felinfoel, Fishguard & Goodwick, Furnace Utd, Haverfordwest, Kidwelly, Llandeilo, Llandovery, Llandybie, Llanelli Wanderers, Llangennech, Llangwm, Merched Mynydd Mawr, Milford Haven, Narberth, New Dock Stars, Newcastle Emlyn, Neyland, Penybanc, Pontyates, St Clears, Stradey Sospans, Tenby Utd, Tumble, Tycroes, Whitland, Yr Hendy.

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Wales v Scotland postponed

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WALES’ Six Nations match at home to Scotland on Saturday has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The two other Six Nation fixtures had already been postponed and no date has been confirmed to complete the 2020 Championship.

The Welsh Rugby Union had insisted earlier on Friday the game would “go ahead as planned”.

A WRU statement read: “The Welsh Rugby Union has maintained an open dialogue with, and continued to seek advice and direction from, the National Assembly for Wales and other stakeholders, including the Six Nations, on this fast-moving issue.

“Whilst medical advice remains consistent, we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the UK and global sports industries.

“The WRU would like to thank all parties for their counsel on the subject and will make further announcements with respect to rescheduling the fixture in the coming days.

“Every effort has been made to stage this game and we appreciate that individuals will have been inconvenienced. Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of this issue a postponement became the only viable option.”

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Domestic football at all levels in Wales suspended

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THE FOOTBALL Association of Wales has today (13 March) taken the decision to suspend domestic football at all levels in Wales with immediate effect until April  4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The intention at this time will be to resume the football schedule depending on the medical advice and conditions from the relevant authorities at that time.  

The FAW is fully aware of the impact this will have on the domestic game but the health and safety of all fans, players, volunteers and stakeholders are of paramount importance. 

The FAW will continue to monitor this situation on a day-by-day basis and will continue to provide updates when appropriate. 

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