The WRU has agreed a new three-year sponsorship deal in excess of £1 million with Welsh energy company SWALEC, which sees the company become the National Community Partner of Welsh Rugby and the Official partner of the International Age Grade Teams.
The partnership reunites Welsh rugby with Wales' leading energy company. SWALEC provides electricity and gas to more than a million customers in Wales and in future will provide the power for the Millennium Stadium.
The three-year sponsorship deal by the Cardiff-based company will directly benefit community rugby throughout Wales. It will bring financial benefits to all National League clubs, enabling them to maintain a strong presence in their communities, invest in developing young players and encourage even wider participation in the sport.
For the first time, this sponsorship deal will also provide specific support for the U20's and U18's National Squads, which will be crucial in their build up for the 2008 Junior Rugby World Cup.
Under the new agreement SWALEC become sponsors of:
The SWALEC Cup
The SWALEC National Leagues
The SWALEC U20s AND U18s International Age Grade Teams
The SWALEC Club of the Month
The SWALEC Annual Awards
The SWALEC Community XV
SWALEC also becomes an Official Partner of the WRU and the Primary Partner of the Junior World Cup U20's.
The sponsorship sees the return of the SWALEC Cup. The Welsh club competition was last branded as the SWALEC Cup in 1999 when the trophy was won by Swansea who defeated Llanelli 37-10 at Ninian Park in Cardiff.
As a direct result of this new investment in the community game, the SWALEC Cup will now be transformed into a three tier competition with Cup, Trophy and Bowl winners. The SWALEC Bowl will be competed for by clubs knocked out in the earlier rounds of the SWALEC Cup, with the SWALEC Plate competition featuring clubs who progress further.
Building on the community focus of the sponsorship, SWALEC have created a 'Welsh Club of the Month' competition to highlight and recognise the best development work taking place in Wales' rugby heartlands.
The Group Chief Executive of the Welsh Rugby Union, Roger Lewis, said: "Reuniting the WRU with SWALEC is great news for Wales and Welsh Rugby.
"The WRU is committed to deliver partnerships which help sustain and develop rugby at all levels and throughout the whole of Wales.
"All of us with a passion for Welsh rugby will recall the days of the SWALEC Cup with fondness and affection. It is great to know those days are now here again.
"SWALEC will deliver a whole new dynamic and robust financial support to what we are doing for community rugby. It's great to have them back on board."