WRU unveil grass-roots initiative
The Welsh Rugby Union has announced a new initiative designed to boost participation at grass roots level and create a legacy for the game on the back of Wales' march to the World Cup semi-finals.
The exploits of head coach Warren Gatland's side captured the imagination of the principality, with 62,000 people crowding into the Millennium Stadium to watch the agonising last-four defeat to France on the big screen.
And the union hope to build on that level of support for the game over the weekend of January 28 and 29, when clubs in Wales will be invited to throw open their doors for fans of all ages to get involved in the game as players, match officials, coaches, off-field volunteers, first aiders and administrators.
Clubs will be able to register their interest in the 'Heart of the Nation - Join the Beat' scheme by signing up to a WRU micro-site, while also receiving financial and operational assistance from the governing body, with members of the public then able to visit the site to see if their nearest club offers the involvement they desire.
WRU group chief executive, Roger Lewis, said in a statement: "The interest generated by the Welsh performances at the Rugby World Cup has offered us an opportunity to help the community game which we are determined to grasp.
"We have allocated funds to make sure every rugby club involved in the activation day can make sure they have the people and facilities in place to help members of the public engage with them.
"This is a meaningful initiative which will result in greater participation levels both on and off the field in the community game across Wales."