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Page last updated at 06:18 GMT, Tuesday, 9 September 2008 07:18 UK

Development region plan for north

WRU boss Roger Lewis
WRU boss Roger Lewis says he regrets the Celtic Warriors' demise

Plans to launch a development region in north Wales have been unveiled by the Welsh Rugby Union.

A working party has been set up to see how the new team - Gogledd Cymru - can best be established within two years.

One idea is to play against development sides set up by the four regions and another is to play in the Premiership.

WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis said: "Wales is a small nation, needs every potential international player to be recognised and fully developed."

These options are just two of a number of ideas being considered and discussions will take place with all the rugby stakeholders in Wales.

The working party will report back in six months on how and when to introduce the new representative team to competition.

It will will also look at the funding of the new side and the structure needed to make it successful.

606: DEBATE
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"We want to label north Wales as a development region to ensure everyone understands our total commitment to nurturing all available talent there in the most appropriate and meaningful way," said Lewis.

The Union's decision to cull the Celtic Warriors in 2004 remains hugely controversial in Wales.

The issue has remained the hottest of topics in Welsh rugby since then-WRU boss David Moffett oversaw the demise of the Warriors side.

That move left the valleys hotbed without a fully professional team and alienated many supporters.

The WRU claimed at the time that Wales could not support five teams, neither financially nor with playing talent.

But last week Wales coach Warren Gatland told BBC Radio Wales' Sportstime show that he would welcome a fifth region to increase competition for national places.

"It's something that we and the WRU have got to consider," he said.


see also
Gallacher dismisses fifth region
04 Sep 08 |  Scarlets
WRU axe falls on Warriors
01 Jun 04 |  Welsh
Valleys wasteland envisaged
19 May 04 |  Welsh
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Magners Celtic League
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
WRU Challenge Cup archive
12 Jul 06 |  Welsh
Welsh Premiership
11 Apr 07 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales


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