Welsh Rugby Union hails £22.5m investment in the game

Jamie Roberts scores a try for Wales against Scotland in their 2014 Six Nations match Cardiff Image copyright Laurence Griffiths
Image caption Jamie Roberts scores for Wales in the record 51-3 victory over Scotland in the 2014 Six Nations

The Welsh Rugby Union has hailed another year of record investment in the game in its annual report for 2014.

The governing body said it had allocated £22.5m to all levels of the sport, up from £22.1m in 2013, while paying off another £4.5m of bank debt.

Group chief executive Roger Lewis said reinvestment would support a successful Wales team as the "financial engine which drives our business".

Schools rugby will also be boosted by WRU-funded rugby officers, he added.

Welsh Rugby Union - Financial figures for 2014

  • Turnover down to £58.5m from £61m in 2013
  • Profit up from £2.3m to £2.4m
  • Reinvestment of £17.1m for the regions, £1.1m for the Premiership and £4.3m for the community game
  • Operating costs of £4.3m for the elite game, £2.7m for community rugby, and just under £5m for the Millennium Stadium
  • Repayable bank debt reduced from £19.5m to £15m
  • The WRU Board also approved a 13% increase in funding to community rugby to £2.6m for the 2014/15 season

Wales failed to retain the Six Nations title in 2014 but highlights of the year included the confirmation of Warren Gatland as head coach until 2019 and plans for a new hybrid natural/synthetic grass pitch at the Millennium Stadium.

The report, which covers a period predating August's £60m peace deal with the regions, notes the signing of Sam Warburton as the first centrally contracted player.

He now holds a dual contract with the WRU and Cardiff Blues following the end of a bitter two-year dispute between the union and the regions over their funding and the release of top players for international duty.

Other developments include a new manager to boost women's rugby, and a schools strategy - including WRU-funded rugby officers - aimed at inspiring children to take up the game and progress to grassroots clubs.

Mr Lewis said the reinvestment proved that Welsh rugby was "determined to maintain its status as the national sport of Wales".

"We have to reinvest in success at the professional and international level because a successful Wales team is the financial engine which drives our business, but we have to have a strong community game to ensure we bolster our talent pool and support for the game in general," he said.

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