What discussions has the Welsh Government had with the Welsh Rugby Union regarding the new rule changes that prevent mixed rugby in under 13s?
Promoting equal access to sport and supporting young and talented athletes is a commitment in our Programme for Government. Last summer, there were widespread concerns for the women’s game and I have had the opportunity to discuss these issues directly with the WRU. I am pleased to see the positive strides that have been taken over recent months with the first professional contracts awarded to a number of international players a significant milestone. We all hope that this is only the beginning of the journey for the women’s game and further progress will be seen in the future.
In relation to the changes to the junior game, and in particular mixed rugby, I have only recently been made aware of the proposals that the WRU is planning to implement from September 2022 and have sought clarification on the plans.
I understand the WRU is seeking to address the retention of players in the U11s, U12s and U13s age groups and is seeking to increase provision and a supportive pathway, in line with recent developments in England, Scotland and Ireland. I will ask my officials to engage with the WRU to better understand the rationale that underpins the proposed reforms and what impact this is likely to have on equal access to rugby in Wales.