Dan Fish makes shortlist for Principality young player award and WRU puts new funding into grass roots rugby
There will be new names all round on the Principality Premiership roll of honour tomorrow evening (Wednesday) when the fifth annual Principality Premiership awards dinner takes place.
Alun Wyn Jones, Tom James, Ashley Beck and Jason Tovey are just some of the names on the previous winners list, which gives every indication of the potential within the Principality Premiership.
Blues, Wales and Lions centre Jamie Roberts, a one time Principality Premiership monthly award winner himself, will present the Best Player award at the Millennium Stadium to one of the following players: Andrew Coombs (Newport), Scott Williams (Llanelli) or Joe Ajuwa (Llandovery), while WRU National Academy Manager Phil Davies will announce the winner of the Best Newcomer award from the following list - Hanno Dirksen (Swansea), Toby Faletau (Cross Keys), Dan Fish (Glamorgan Wanderers).
Dan Fish of the Cardiff Blues academy enjoyed a rapid rise in fortunes, catching the eye of observers of his Glamorgan Wanderers side, along with performing consistently well for Wales Under 20. Both Dan and Toby join Williams on the plane to Argentina this weekend.
WRU Head of Rugby, Performance and Development Joe Lydon will present the Best Coach Award to Richard Webster (Swansea), Rob Appleyard (Llandovery) or James Chapron (Pontypool).
Other awards presented on the evening include the Services to Rugby award which recognises the hard work performed week in week out by club officials and volunteers, and the Fair Play award which focuses on the treatment of match officials. Awards will also be presented to the top scorer and top try scorer of the Principality Premiership season.
The Welsh Rugby Union has made available £1m to invest in a major new initiative to develop grass roots community rugby across Wales.
The £1m will fund equipment for more than 300 Welsh clubs based upon a points system which rewards one of the WRU's strategic aims of increasing participation in rugby at all levels in the grass roots and community game.
The project has been approved by the WRU in a bid to ensure Welsh rugby remains the national sport of Wales.
The WRU Participation Points scheme is centred upon modernising the equipment and facilities available for players, coaches, supporters and volunteers.
All the Welsh Rugby Union community clubs across Wales will qualify for the scheme based on what they deliver to the sport through their own endeavours in growing the game.
The project is a one-off £1m financial injection into Welsh rugby which runs parallel to the other existing support structures.
WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis, said: "These are financially challenging times for all of our communities in Wales and so we feel it is critically important to re-invest in the improvement of our rugby clubs now.
"Now we are launching this £1m initiative to help deliver on our promise of developing the game at grassroots level across Wales. This is new money we are putting into the game.
"Rugby is our national sport and our rugby clubs are at the centre of Welsh life for many which means they must be welcoming and successful environments.
"We want our players and supporters to maintain the pride they undoubtedly have in the clubs of which they are members and we want to attract a new wave of players and families to the game.
"A key weapon in our armoury for generating money for Welsh rugby is a winning Wales team filling the Millennium Stadium and once we have supported that principle we want to improve community rugby."
In its sixth year the Blues Cup once again showed to be huge hit throughout the region and is a great advert for the community game as each of the six finalists across the three age groups produced rugby of an outstanding level resulting in 14 tries.
Cardiff Blues are going green this season after launching a new European shirt with an environmental pledge - and now sponsors Wessex Garages are making sure the region is on the right road to deliver on our green promise!
Inspired Cardiff Blues enjoyed Judgement Day at the Millennium Stadium as they secured a tense 17-13 win over regional rivals Scarlets in a feisty and enthralling encounter in the RaboDirect PRO12 on Easter Sunday.