February 12, 2024
Updated 23 minutes ago
image source, Getty Images
The Welsh Rugby Union was founded in 1881
The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has named nine clubs for its new Elite Domestic Competition (EDC) for 2024-25 and invited a further club to apply.
Aberavon, Bridgend Ravens, Carmarthen Quins, Ebbw Vale, Llandovery, Newport, Pontypool, Swansea and RGC 1404 take part in the competition, which will replace the existing Welsh Premiership.
There is no Cardiff regional club on this list and Merthyr will not be applying.
Pontypridd and Cardiff still have the opportunity to apply.
In a statement, the WRU said its board had “agreed to reopen the application process to review the grant of the one remaining license to compete and invited eligible clubs to apply for the allocation of the remaining EDC license”.
Having first announced the new structure in August 2023, the WRU expects the process “to be completed by the spring”.
Currently, three Welsh rugby regions will be represented in the EDC from next season.
Ospreys will have Aberavon, Bridgend Ravens and Swansea in their territory, while Neath says they have been denied a place by the WRU in what they describe as “an appalling decision”.
In a statement on the club website, Neath said they were rejected due to a negative credit and financial position, an “overly ambitious” business plan and a lack of relationship with the Ospreys.
The club rejects the financial arguments and claims the lack of relationship with the Ospreys is “not on our part”.
The statement concluded: “We reserve the right to announce our next step and whilst all WRU deadlines have been met, they have provided the opportunity for other clubs to take part.”
“It is an appalling decision and I am sure the public will agree.”
In response to Neath's claims, Ospreys say they “do not believe the statement accurately reflects the relationship” between the two clubs' management teams.
In its own statement, the region said: “Ospreys are interested in working with all other clubs in our region, regardless of what level or league they play at.”
The Dragons will have Ebbw Vale, Pontypool and Newport in their region, while RGC 1404 will be the North Wales representatives.
In the Cardiff region, Merthyr has outlined its position on social media.
The Ironmen congratulated the nine new EDC teams and stated: “We are excited to begin our new journey, which is important to our long-term sustainability. We also look forward to renewing old acquaintances.”
“With more than 275 young boys and girls representing our age group and girls community, coupled with a successful youth department, we are fully committed to the development of young people. For rugby, for their well-being and for their future. Much more than just a 23.”
WRU performance director Huw Bevan said: “We need 10 teams in this league if it is to reach its optimal level.”
“Our clubs must also meet the criteria for a license to ensure we deliver the sustainable and successful elite competition we need in Wales.”
“That’s why we’re going back to our clubs to look for a tenth team ready to take part in this exciting new competition.”