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WRU’s record reinvestment in rugby



Martyn Phillips: WRU CEO

Martyn Phillips: WRU CEO

THE WELSH RUGBY UNION (WRU) group has re-invested £33.1m into the national game, which equates to an 11% increase over the previous year, according to its latest Annual Report.

The percentage growth in the re-investment in rugby is broadly tracking the percentage growth in revenues.

This record investment comes after the refinancing undertaken in June 2015 and a strategic decision taken by the group to re-invest more into the game, rather than retaining any profits to enhance net assets.

Total investment in Welsh rugby has increased by £3.4m from £29.7m previously, with all money earned now being re-invested into the game; the group retained a profit after tax of £0.1m.

An impressive set of results for the financial year ending June 2016 also sees group’s turnover increase to £73.3m from £64.8m previously – a 13% increase – and the group’s net bank debt reduced to £11m (from £14.2m), largely achieved through working capital management and reduced capital expenditure.

The total investment in community clubs increased by 16% from £6.8m to £7.9m, principally due to the investment in the school club hub programme, in digital strategy costs associated with a conscious decision to better promote the community game and facility grants.

The investment in the Principality Premiership increased by 14% to £1.6m and the investment in the Regions increased by 12% to £19.3m.

The WRU group welcomed 346,000 (2015: 395,000) rugby spectators to Principality Stadium during the year. The average attendance per match was 69,000 (2015: 66,000) and equated to an average of 93% (2015: 89%). The average ticket income per attendee at matches held at Principality Stadium was £39 (2015: £47).

“We are delighted to be able to announce a solid set of financial results for the year ending June 2016,” said WRU Chief Executive Martyn Phillips, who is contributing to his first annual report since his appointment in October 2015.

“We have been able to increase re-investment in all levels of the game, specifically the community game, the Premiership clubs and the Regions.

“Our clubs, the community game and all the players, coaches and other volunteers at that level are the lifeblood of our national sport. We are proud to be able to say that all the group’s revenues have been re-invested back into the game and that investment is at record levels in each of the Regional, Premiership and community games, as well as on an overall basis.

“Looking forward, we face a new set of challenges. On the one hand, we are fortunate in that we have a number of strong long term commercial partnerships with Under Armour, Principality and broadcasting, as examples; on the other, we will now need to identify and grow new revenue streams as our need to invest is likely to grow more rapidly than revenues.

“Our first focus will be to drive an increased number of events at Principality Stadium. We will also look to increase merchandise sales, stadium tours, and we are considering creating a rugby museum.”

WRU Chairman Gareth Davies added: “We are very conscious of our responsibility to community clubs.

“We will always look to increase our support for clubs and we will increasingly look to facilities grants as the vehicle for us to do this.

“Helping clubs to invest in their facilities allows them to become more attractive to their local communities as a social hub.

“We want to ensure that our clubs are at the heart of their communities which particularly attract families, women and children.

“Provision of food, WiFi and well-kept facilities, as general examples, are the key for clubs to enable them to become more self-sufficient. We plan to invest in clubs to help them in this regard.

“Our focus on alternative forms of the game, for example, tag, touch and festival rugby, along with the growth of women’s and girls’ rugby, will, I’m sure, see clubs thrive as new and more diverse members of the community frequent our clubhouses, engage in volunteering and, we hope, help run our clubs.”

And Martyn Phillips is also keen to share his vision for the future within the pages of the Report: “We have a clear purpose as to why we exist as an organisation. We have defined this as ‘more people, more often, with more enjoyment and more success’.

“We want to encourage as many people as possible to engage with our game, whether they be supporters, players, coaches, referees, commercial partners, medics or volunteers.

“We recognise that the majority engage with rugby for enjoyment. We are aware that rugby is a social sport and the club is often at the heart of the community. We want to be a sport that enables enjoyment for all the family.”

The group’s Finance Director, Steve Phillips, said: “We are delighted to once again be able to report a financial performance robust enough to increase our level of re-investment into Welsh rugby.

“Consequently, we have now taken a strategic decision to seek to re-invest more into the game rather than retaining any profits to enhance net assets.”

Martyn Phillips continued to explain key details about the group’s strategy for the future of the game. He said: “We want to drive participation in our community game but we also know that for some it’s all about winning.

“Winning is at the heart of sport and we want to make it possible for individuals and teams to win more often as a result of our efforts. We also recognise the pride the nation feels when our national teams win and we want to make that a regular reality.

“We are working more closely than ever with our Regions to achieve this collective aim and occasions like the near capacity Judgement Day IV at Principality Stadium are symbolic for the WRU and the Regions.

“Our coaches share a collective aim for success on the pitch and we are working together more than ever in terms of coaching and playing styles, player welfare and in exchanging ideas, as well as continuing to further develop our positive relationship off the field.”

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Canolfan Carwyn Sports Centre and Brynamman Lido to be transferred to a community groups



A MULTI- SPORTS facility, at the heart of the Gwendraeth Valley, has been taken over by a local sports group, the Baton Twirlers.

The management of Canolfan Carwyn Sports Centre, which is owned by Carmarthenshire County, has been transferred to the Baton Twirlers Association Cymru (BTAC) via a lease agreement and will allow the public to continue to use the facilities at the centre.

Whilst Canolfan Carwyn Sports Centre is now the official home of BTAC its facilities are available for the local community and sports groups to be used.

An official reopening of the Centre, which bears the name of one of the Gwendraeth Valley’s most famous sons, under the new management of the BTAC was held on Sunday, October 2.

Speaking at the event, Jessica Shore Director of the Baton Twirlers Association Cymru (BTAC) said:

“We are thrilled to have worked with Carmarthenshire County Council to secure this sports centre on behalf of the local community and it’s a pleasure to welcome the public here today. We are looking forward to working with and hosting various community and sports groups at the Carwyn James Sports Centre.

“It also was very important to us to provide a home for baton twirling in Wales, and we will make great use of the excellent facilities here.”

Cllr. Gareth John, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism said “This is a great success story for the BTAC, the Gwendraeth Valley and the council as we have secured the future of the Carwyn James Sports Centre for the local community.

I would like to thank Baton Twirlers Association Cymru for their work and enthusiasm during the process of transferring management of the Sports Centre to them, as a community group, and I wish them the very best for the future.”

Plans approved to transfer management of Brynamman Lido

On Monday, October 3, the council’s Cabinet approved plans to lease the Brynamman Lido, which is held in trust by the Carmarthenshire County Council, to Brynamman Lido Limited under its asset transfer programme.

Under the proposed lease, Brynamman Lido Limited will take over the management of the lido with the intention to reopen the swimming pool for sporting, recreational and leisure activities.

Following the approval of the plans by the Cabinet, Cllr. Gareth John commented:

“We are pleased to be working with the local group in Brynamman to transfer the management and maintenance of the lido to the community.

“The transfer of this asset will allow Brynamman Lido Ltd to apply for funding via grants that would not be available to the County Council, and we will continue to work with them and provide support along the journey to reopening the lido to the community.”

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Latest recruit to Llandeilo’s Ashmole & Co team ‘converts’ his spare time into being a rugby referee



Ashmole & Co have scored a try with their newest Trainee Accountant. The firm is delighted to announce that Aled Jones has recently started working for the successful accountancy team in the Llandeilo office.

Aled, who lives in Pontyberem, is a community rugby referee in his spare time. He referees senior rugby games on Saturdays and Junior rugby games on Sundays including cup matches. He is also involved in the Scarlets Cup Final at Parc y Scarlets and the Carmarthenshire cup finals.

Before joining Ashmole & Co Aled was a Personal Banker with Barclays Bank for five years. He studied AAT Level three at Coleg Sir Gar. Aled went to primary school in Pontyberem and secondary school in Ysgol y Gwendraeth.

Day to day with Ashmole & Co, Aled prepares and inputs clients’ sales and purchase invoices onto the accounting software; completes clients’ VAT returns and assists senior members of the team with the preparation of accounts. The most rewarding part of the job for Aled is hearing that the clients are happy.

Welcoming Aled to the team, Ceri Llwyd, Partner in the Llandeilo Ashmole & Co office, said, “We are delighted that Aled has joined our team in Carmarthenshire. He has fitted in well and is a pleasure to work with. I’ve told my rugby mad sons that they have to behave now when they play rugby on a Sunday in case Aled is their referee! It is great that he gives up his spare time to help local rugby clubs in this way.”
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Aled said, “I am grateful to Ashmole and Co, who are one of the most established and largest teams of chartered, certified accountants and auditors in south and west Wales, to give me this opportunity.”

Ashmole & Co offer financial support to a significant number of junior and professional sports teams across south Wales. The Llandeilo office has recently shown its support to Llandeilo RFC by contributing towards new tops for the juniors.

Ceri added, “As a rural firm that works with businesses in the area it is a pleasure for us to be able to lend our support to local sports teams.”

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Llangennech prove too strong for Penclawdd



LLANGENNECH earned their fourth win in as many matches on Saturday (Oct 22) as they beat Penclawdd 38-10.

Jordan Saunders got the scoring underway with the first try of the game and Thomas Davies added the extras.

Penclawdd then levelled the scoring with a try from Daniel John Guarneri and Marcus Brown added the extras.

It remained 7-7 until half time with conditions proving tricky for both sides.

In the second half, Aaron Howles got the try to put Llangennech ahead but the conversion was missed.

Joseph Hutchings then extended the visitors’ lead with their third try and Davies added the extras to take the score to 7-19.

Penclawdd then responded with a penalty from Brown as the home side looked to get back into the game.

However, Llangennech soon had their fourth try and a bonus point as Howles touched down for his second try of the game and Davies added the extras.

Louis Rees then scored an unconverted try before replacement Hefin Jones went over for Llangennech’s sixth try, converted by Davies.

On Saturday, October 29, Penclawdd travel to Aberystwyth for their second game in the Division 1 Cup.

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