Cardiff Arms Park

A general view of Cardiff Arms Park, home of Cardiff RFC. Pic: Getty Images

Calling Cardiff RFC: Please Come To The WRU Party

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By Paul Jones

The Welsh Rugby Union are hoping Cardiff will still come to the party for their controversial new tournament, the Elite Domestic Competition.

The WRU have named nine of the 10 clubs that will contest the new tier they want to replace the current Welsh Premiership.

In previous years, the WRU have tried to cut the number of clubs in the Premiership, but failed to win the backing of enough clubs.

Their solution has been to start a new competition – with reduced numbers – and try to wedge this new tier between the regional game and the existing Premiership structure.

They have invited applications for a second time in the hope that Cardiff will change their minds about being part of the new structure.

The Arms Park club, Pontypridd and Merthyr were notable in their snubbing of the EDC when the process was begun last year.

Ponty and Merthyr are not keen to join a tournament that reduces their number of home games – and therefore their match day income – but Cardiff are understood to be considering a re-think.

Neath have issued a statement taking issue with financial concerns they claim the WRU have over the club and which led to their application being rejected.

The nine Welsh clubs chosen from applications for the new league in September 2024 will be:

Bridgend Ravens
Carmarthen Quins
Ebbw Vale
RGC 1404

The WRU has granted licences to all successful clubs for an initial three-year term.

WRU Performance Director Huw Bevan said: “We need ten teams in this league if it is to perform at its optimum level.

“Our clubs must also meet the criteria for a licence, to ensure that we are producing the sustainable and successful elite competition we need in Wales.

“This is why we are going back out to our clubs to search for a tenth team ready to join this exciting new competition.

“This new league represents the missing link in our senior men’s pathway, but it will also be the shop window for the traditional club game in Wales and all the history and heritage that brings.

“This is a hugely exciting development for Welsh rugby and we need to ensure we have the right building blocks in place to achieve our ambitious aims for this competition.

“The door is now open for another club to come to the table and we hope a number of further applications will be received to ensure a further thorough and competitive process.

“It will support the development of high potential young professional players but also drive the quality of the domestic semi-professional game.

“The nine successful clubs can now forge ahead with the final stages of their business plans and lock in their playing and coaching teams for next season.

“We look forward to now establishing and activating the competition in what will be a new dawn for domestic men’s rugby in Wales.”

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