Welsh Rugby Union Confirms Reduced 10 Team Format

May 3, 2011

It has been confirmed by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) that a decrease in the size of the Principality Premiership will begin from the 2012/13 season, reducing its number of teams from 14 to 10 after plans were approved by the majority of Premiership clubs.

The WRU board did however, reject a proposal to introduce the reforms for the 2011/12 season as the changes were considered to be too soon. 

Under the new format, clubs qualifying for the Premiership at the end of the current season will have until May 22 to inform the WRU whether they wish to be considered for a place in the final 10.

To earn a place they will have to qualify for an ‘A’ license based on criteria and sign a participation agreement, as well as being judged on league results across the past six seasons.

The WRU says that the identity of the 10 Premiership teams will be decided by the end of August but media reports indicate that the governing body will not reveal the identities of the clubs until the end of December.

The four teams who fail to qualify for the 10 team league will fall into a newly-formed National Championship League, receiving parachute payments for the first two years.

The Championship League will be formed of the teams from the current Swalec Division One East and Division One West, alongside the four former Premiership teams.

WRU head of rugby Joe Lydon added: “These reforms have now been confirmed and we will now need to work even harder to form a strong future for this level of rugby in Wales.

“These are radical changes and as such were never going to be simple to achieve, however it was important that they were agreed in totality and that the fundamental aims of the reforms have been recognised by all involved.”