Of the 32-strong Wales squad for the 2014 RBS 6 Nations, 25 are currently playing for the four regional clubs, with the remaining seven players having also come through the regional system but now playing outside of Wales. Together they have all been nurtured by the four regions and have made a collective total of 2,497 appearances for the regions.
Stuart Gallacher, Chief Executive of Regional Rugby Wales said: "There is no denying the impact regional rugby is having on the national game. We'd like to congratulate all our international players on their selection for the Six Nations squad and wish them all well as they join up next week for the forthcoming campaign. Whether you're an experienced senior international or a new player emerging onto the international stage, it's a huge honour to play for your country at any time and real motivation to perform well particularly in the Six Nations, which has such great tradition and rivalry.
"Thousands of loyal regional rugby supporters from the communities that our international players represent will proudly support their players in their forthcoming contests. We all wish Wales the very best in achieving a record third competition win and look forward to seeing some of the regions' up and coming internationals make their mark.
"As Regions we are also equally proud of the investment and commitment that continues to be made in supporting our players during their regional careers; to ensure we provide the very best platforms, opportunities and rugby environments throughout the season that allow out players to achieve their full potential and the success they deserve."
Pre-regional rugby Wales had won just one European title (1994) since the 1970s. Since the introduction of the regions, Wales has boasted four Six Nations titles, three Grand Slams since 2003, a World Cup semi-final in 2011 and Welsh players making up two thirds of the series winning 2013 Lions Test team. On top of that, the Wales Under-20s reached the Junior World Championship finals last year for the very first time.
Stuart Gallacher continued: "Regional Rugby Wales is fighting for a healthy and sustainable game in Wales. The foundations of Welsh rugby need to be strong from the grassroots up - players such as those announced for this year's six nations are very important to our rugby communities. But equally, those communities are very important to those players who respect their roots and care passionately about the home clubs where they were nurtured. They know, as a regional player, they have juniors who look up to them as heroes and want to see them in their home regional club every week. They inspire and spark a lifelong passion for the future of the game in Wales - that is what regional rugby is all about."