WRU Insist New Tier Will Provide Super Lift-Off

The WRU have announced a new tournament. Pic: Getty Images

WRU Insist New Tier Will Provide Super Lift-Off

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By David Parsons

Welsh Rugby Union head of player development John Alder insists the new Super Rygbi Cymru competition can provide a smooth pathway from the club to the international game.

Welsh rugby’s new Elite Domestic Competition (EDC) will be branded as the Super Rygbi Cymru (SRC) trophy next season.

The 10-team tournament will move out of the community game in Wales to become aligned with the professional tier.

The competition is designed to bridge the gap for players moving between the academies and four professional regional teams.

The season will kick-off on the second weekend of September, with the clubs playing 18 home and away league fixtures in the regular season before progressing to play-off rounds and a grand final.

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There will be breaks for the autumn internationals and Six Nations programmes, with two seven-match blocks held in September and October, November to January, before the final four regular matches and play-offs to be staged between the end of March and mid-May.

A separate competition called the Super Rygbi Cymru Cup will be scheduled during the 2025 Six Nations.

Each team will play a minimum of 23 fixtures over the course of the season with a further trophy available known as the SRC Challenger Shield.

Carmarthen Quins, Swansea, Ebbw Vale, Aberavon, Newport, Bridgend, Pontypool, Llandovery, RGC and Cardiff are the 10 teams involved, with established clubs such as Neath, Pontypridd and Merthyr not included.

The clubs have signed up to a salary-cap system that will enable them to spend up to £150,000 on a squad of 32 players, although there will be exceptions.

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The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) will be providing £105,000 to each club, who have to commit to match that sum in funding each season.

“The buy-in from the clubs has been fantastic and we’ve had many good meetings in the build-up to this launch, which we deliberately delayed to allow the final season of the Indigo Premiership to reach its conclusion,” said WRU head of player development John Alder.

“The regions are on board and the new structure should raise standards all round.

“We’ve tried to be creative in our thinking about the design of the competition while keeping it aligned to the professional calendar.

“We want to ensure there is lots to play for, plenty of jeopardy, exciting local derbies, and each club will have at least 11 home games over the course of the season.

“We want Super Rygbi Cymru to be a breeding ground and finishing school for ambitious players to push them through into the regions, the United Rugby Championship (URC) and on to Wales.”

The 10 clubs have all signed up to a ‘salary cap’ system that will enable them to spend up to £150,000 on a squad of 32 players. There will be exceptions to this rule (see notes below).

The WRU will be providing £105,000 to each club, who in return not only have to commit to match funding that sum each season, but are also required to meet a set of minimum operating expectations in the running of both the club and their SRC rugby team.

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Season Structure

Super Rygbi Cymru (SRC) will be aligned to the professional game calendar and the United Rugby Championship to create a collaborative working relationship between the 10 clubs and the four regional clubs. This will include breaks in the competition during the autumn and Six Nations international windows.

The season will be played in three blocks (September & October / December / April & May):
Regular Season: 18 Rounds with all 10 teams playing each other home and away
Post-Season Finals: The post-regular season finals will consist of four knock-out stages

There will be three pieces of silverware available to the teams – the Super Rygbi Cymru Trophy, the Super Rygbi Cymru Cup, and the Challenger Shield.

2024-25 Super Rygbi Cymru Season

Begins on the weekend of 14 September and concludes with the Grand Final on or around Saturday 17 May 2025 (at a neutral venue).

The regular season will conclude on weekend of 19 April 2025. The following are the block dates:
Block 1: Rounds 1 – 7: 14 September 24 – 26 October 24
Block 2: Rounds 8 – 14: 23 November 24 – 4th January 25
Block 3: Rounds 15 – 18, and Post-Season Finals: 29 March 25 – 17 May 25

Post-Season Finals
Wild Card Finals (7 v 10, 8 v 9)
Quarter-Finals (1 v Wildcard 1, 2 v Wildcard 2, 3 v 6, and 4 v 5)
Semi-Finals
Grand Final (playing for the Trophy)

Challenger Shield

A Challenger Shield will be introduced as part of the regular season. The winners of this year’s cup (Llandovery RFC) will be the inaugural Shield holders. The holding club must defend the shield in all home games during the regular season (but not during Post Season Finals). If the challenger beats them, they will become the new holder of the shield and required to defend it at their next home game.

Super Rygbi Cymru Cup

A cup competition will be introduced during the 6 Nations. There will be four rounds and a Final (the draw will be conducted in season).

There will be two pools of five clubs, each playing two home and two away games. The winners of each Pool will play-off in the Cup Final.

Player Salary Cap

The Player Salary Cap for the 2024-25 SRC season has been set at £150,000pa. However, there is salary cap relief and there are exemptions for recently released Regional Players (at U18 and from a Senior Academy), Dual Contracted Players, and Injuries. The main idea is to encourage and support the retention of high potential players within Wales and in the competition. That’s why there will be exemptions and relief within the salary cap for certain periods of time.

SUPER RYGBI CYMRU FIXTURES 2024-25

ROUND 1 – 14.09.2024
Carmarthen Quins v Swansea
Ebbw Vale v Aberavon
Newport v Bridgend
Pontypool v Llandovery
RGC v Cardiff

ROUND 2 – 21.09.2024
Aberavon v Carmarthen Quins
Bridgend v Pontypool
Cardiff v Ebbw Vale
Llandovery v RGC
Swansea v Newport

ROUND 3 – 28.09.2024
Carmarthen Quins v Cardiff
Ebbw Vale v Llandovery
Newport v Aberavon
RGC v Pontypool
Swansea v Bridgend

ROUND 4 – 05.10.2024
Aberavon v Newport
Bridgend v Swansea
Cardiff v Carmarthen Quins
Llandovery v Ebbw Vale
Pontypool v RGC

ROUND 5 – 12.10.2024
Aberavon v Bridgend
Carmarthen Quins v Pontypool
Ebbw Vale v RGC
Newport v Llandovery
Swansea v Cardiff

ROUND 6 – 19.10.2024
Bridgend v Ebbw Vale
Cardiff v Aberavon
Llandovery v Swansea
Pontypool v Newport
RGC v Carmarthen Quins

ROUND 7 – 26.10.2024
Aberavon v Llandovery
Cardiff v Bridgend
Carmarthen Quins v Ebbw Vale
Newport v RGC
Swansea v Pontypool

ROUND 8 – 23.11.2024
Bridgend v Carmarthen Quins
Ebbw Vale v Newport
Llandovery v Cardiff
Pontypool v Aberavon
RGC v Swansea

ROUND 9 – 30.11.2024
Aberavon v RGC
Cardiff v Pontypool
Llandovery v Bridgend
Newport v Carmarthen Quins
Swansea v Ebbw Vale

ROUND 10 – 07.12.2024
Aberavon v Ebbw Vale
Bridgend v Newport
Cardiff v RGC
Llandovery v Pontypool
Swansea v Carmarthen Quins

ROUND 11 – 14.12.2024
Carmarthen Quins v Aberavon
Ebbw Vale v Cardiff
Newport v Swansea
Pontypool v Bridgend
RGC v Llandovery

ROUND 12 – 21.12.2024 (DERBY ROUND)
Aberavon v Swansea
Bridgend v RGC
Cardiff v Newport
Llandovery v Carmarthen Quins
Pontypool v Ebbw Vale

ROUND 13 – 28.12.2024 (DERBY ROUND)
Carmarthen Quins v Llandovery
Ebbw Vale v Pontypool
Newport v Cardiff
RGC v Bridgend
Swansea v Aberavon

ROUND 14 – 04.01.2025
Bridgend v Aberavon
Cardiff v Swansea
Llandovery v Newport
Pontypool v Carmarthen Quins
RGC v Ebbw Vale

ROUND 15 – 29.03.2025
Aberavon v Cardiff
Carmarthen Quins v RGC
Ebbw Vale v Bridgend
Newport v Pontypool
Swansea v Llandovery

ROUND 16 – 05.04.2025
Bridgend v Cardiff
Ebbw Vale v Carmarthen Quins
Llandovery v Aberavon
Pontypool v Swansea
RGC v Newport

ROUND 17 – 12.04.2025
Aberavon v Pontypool
Cardiff v Llandovery
Carmarthen Quins v Bridgend
Newport v Ebbw Vale
Swansea v RGC

ROUND 18 – 19.04.2025
Bridgend v Llandovery
Carmarthen Quins v Newport
Ebbw Vale v Swansea
Pontypool v Cardiff
RGC v Aberavon

Post Season Finals

Wildcard Play Offs – 26.04.2025
7th v 10th (WG 1)
8th v 9th (WG 2)

Quarter-Finals – 03.05.2025
1st v WG 1 (QF 1)
4th v 5th (QF 2)
2nd v WG 2 (QF 3)
3rd v 6th (QF 4)

Semi-Finals – 10.05.2025
Winner of QF1 v Winner of QF 4
Winner of QF2 v Winner of QF 3

Grand Final – 17.05.2025
Winner SF 1 v Winner of SF 2
* Neutral Venue TBC

Super Rygbi Cymru Cup Weekends

ROUND 1 – 25.01.2025
ROUND 2 – 01.02.2025
ROUND 3 – 15.02.2025
ROUND 4 – 01.03.2025
FINAL – 15.03.2025

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