Welsh Rugby Union and regions to hold financial review

Representatives from the four Welsh regions with the Pro12 trophy
Wales' four regions have announced a salary cap which will begin next year

The Welsh Rugby Union and the four regions will undertake a financial review of professional rugby.

The review, commissioned by the WRU, will be undertaken by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

It follows joint talks between the four regions and the WRU.

"We have discussed the many and varied challenges which face the professional game in Wales in this very demanding economic climate," said WRU chief executive Roger Lewis.

"Together we have agreed to explore what opportunities may exist between us to create greater sustainability for regional rugby based upon the review's findings.

"The Welsh Rugby Union's business model is centred upon a rolling five-year plan which guarantees support and investment into all levels of the game in Wales as well as the Millennium Stadium.

"This plan has proved to be robust so far but in an ever-changing environment, we need to ensure we take the time to properly consider the right strategies for the future not just today."

The announcement of a financial review comes days after Wales' four regions - Cardiff Blues, Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons and the Ospreys - announced a salary cap of £3.5m on Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup squad members.

Amid concerns over "tough economic challenges", the regions hope the cap will ensure greater financial security and allow them to continue to develop young players.

The loss of star players to France and dwindling crowds are other concerns for the regions, each of whom have played in front of an average gate of fewer than 7,500 spectators this season.

The situation is a marked contrast to the international game where Wales invariably play in front of a packed house os 75,000 at the Millennium Stadium, helping the WRU to post a profit of of £54.3m for the last financial year.

The cap, which begins in July 2012, has been welcomed by the WRU, and Regional Rugby Wales chief Stuart Gallacher said the financial review was further proof of the co-operation between the regions and WRU.

"The last few months, have clearly illustrated the success of our existing structures in nurturing and developing the wealth of talent that exists within rugby in Wales," he said.

"We need to ensure we all work together to protect and further develop those structures and utilise all our collective resource to ensure Welsh rugby is healthy on every level."

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