Representatives from clubs around Ospreylia gathered at the Liberty Stadium last night for the launch of the new look Youth and Second Team Leagues.
The evening, which kicked off with a Q&A with Ospreys HeadCoach Allen Clarke, saw clubs come together to look at, and discuss, the new look league structures which will take effect for the 2018/19 season.
It was hosted by Ospreys in the Community and Ospreys Region WRU staff, who it was announced on the evening will become the first region in Wales to operate as a single entity under the One Community banner. A very positive move forward to combine strategies to ensure that in the region staff and resources are maximised and that clubs, schools and specific age groups that need support are given it.
Attendees heard from both Paul Whapham, Head of Community for the Ospreys Region and Chris Ower, WRU Participation and Retention Manager, about the changes to the community and league structure and had an open discussion with the clubs about the different issues teams were facing and the support available.
The new look league structures for the Youth and Second Team Leagues were then launched and discussed with the clubs that attended.
In the Youth League there will be localised East, Central and West National Leagues run until Christmas followed by Regional Cup, Plate and Bowl leagues based on the finishing positions. Every team will play opponents once before Christmas and once after, giving them 20 scheduled fixtures a season. The new structure aims to help clubs retain their players by ensuring they get to play more games.
There will also be two U17s festivals held across four venues throughout the region during the RAG U16 and 18s window in February for U16 and 1st year youth players. Again this will allow more players more opportunities to play the sport.
In the Second Team Regional League there will be two leagues in both of the traditional districts with 308 scheduled league and cup matches and Game On events. The new look structure will mean greater accessibility and appeal for Second XV rugby.
All leagues and competitons will use the Game On principle which gives a variety of options with regards to the number of players per side and adaptations to the format of the game in order to remove barriers to matches going ahead, providing a more meaningful and enjoyable experience for players. Game On events will be held across the region in September, October, January and April.