|Current season, competition or edition:|
|No. of teams||12|
|Most titles||Neath (7 Titles)|
|TV partner(s)||BBC Wales, S4C|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Welsh Championship|
|Domestic cup(s)||WRU Challenge Cup|
|Official website||Indigo Group Premiership|
The Welsh Premier Division (Welsh : Uwch Gynghrair Cymru) known for sponsorship reasons as the Indigo Group Premiership (Uwch Gynghrair grŵp indigo) is a rugby union league in Wales first implemented by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) for the 1990–91 season.
Ahead of the 1990–91 season, the Welsh Rugby Union announced that the top 38 clubs would play in the Heineken National League, split into four divisions with the top ten teams forming the Premier League. Each club would play each other home and away in a double round-robin format.The ten teams that were part of the inaugural Premier Division were Abertillery, Cardiff, Bridgend, Glamorgan Wanderers. Llanelli, Neath, Newbridge, Pontypool, Pontypridd and Swansea.
For the 1999–2000, 2000–01 and 2001–02 seasons, it was reformatted as the Welsh-Scottish League with the addition of Edinburgh and Glasgow alongside the Welsh teams; and run jointly by the Scottish Rugby Union and the Welsh Rugby Union.
Originally at the top tier of rugby in Wales, the league lost this status in 2003 with the implementation of the WRU's "Regional Rugby" plan, by which the country would be represented in top-level competitions, i.e. the Celtic League (now Pro14) and Heineken Cup, by five (now four) regionally based sides. The clubs in the Premier Division became largely developmental sides for the regional teams.
Over succeeding years the league structure was to be changed in order to strengthen the structure of the semi-pro sides feeding the regions. Under the WRU's plan, playing records and facilities will be the main criteria in determining which clubs would stay in the Premiership.
In the 2005–06 season the Welsh Premier Division consisted of 16 clubs. Division One Champions Maesteg and runners-up Glamorgan Wanderers were promoted from Division 1 to join 14 clubs who played Premiership rugby the previous season. The clubs relegated down to Division 1 were Caerphilly, Llanharan and Newbridge, thus, reducing the division from 17 to 16 clubs.
For the 2006–07 season, the Welsh Premier Division was reduced once more to 14 teams. The 2006–07 league was won by Neath RFC, making it three wins in three years.
For the 2007–08 season, a new points system was adopted, following the same system used in the Celtic League, where teams earn four points for a win and two for a draw, and can earn bonus points for either scoring four tries or losing by less than seven points.The relegation rules also changed during the season, stating that if a team failed to meet ground and facility standards during the season, then that club would fall into the final place rather than the club that finished last through points.
British and Irish Cup Qualification
In 2009–10, the top six clubs from the 2008–09 season qualified for the new British and Irish Cup competition. A play-off system was added at the end of the season for the top eight sides to qualify for the following season's British and Irish Cup. Only six teams can qualify for this from the eight. These play-offs do not decide the League Championship, as the league leaders at the end of the regular 26 game season will be Champions.
At the start of the 2010–11 season, it was announced that the Welsh Premiership title would be settled by a play-off at a neutral ground. At the end of the season, play-offs will involve the second and third placed teams meeting at a neutral venue, with the winners facing the team who finished top after the regular season in the final. Two-other play-off issues are also set to feature at the end of the campaign. The top five teams in the league will win automatic entry into the following season's British and Irish Cup with the sixth and final place decided by a play-off. This will see the teams finishing in 7th and 8th position meeting for the right to play the sixth-placed club.
Promotion from Division 1 was revamped from the 2010–11 season with play-offs taking place for this too. The bottom-placed team in the Welsh Premiership was grouped with the respective division winners in Division 1 East, North and West - provided they meet the Premiership criteria.
For the 2012–13 season, it was announced that the Premier Division would be reduced to 10 teams.The teams for the league would be decided on three factors: the holding of an 'A Licence' based on stadium criteria; the signing of a 'Participation Agreement'; and league results over the previous six seasons. It was announced that four clubs, Pontypool, Tonmawr, Bridgend and Carmarthen had not achieved the required criteria to be included into the new league. However, pressure from Ospreys and Scarlets backers led to the league being extended to 12 teams with Bridgend and Carmarthen included. Tonmawr, citing financial reasons, opted not to take part in the new league at all and re-entered themselves into Division Six. Pontypool launched a legal challenge to avoid being the only team relegated but lost the case.
*= Welsh-Scottish League winners
|1||Neath||7||1991, 1996, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010|
|2||Pontypridd||5||1997, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015|
|3=||Llanelli||4||1993, 1999, 2002, 2011|
|3=||Swansea||4||1992, 1994, 1998, 2001|
|3=||Cardiff||4||1995, 2000, 2009, 2020*|
|5=||Merthyr||3||2017, 2018, 2019|
Dragons are one of the four professional rugby union regional teams in Wales. They are owned by the Welsh Rugby Union and play their home games at Rodney Parade, Newport and at other grounds around the region. They play in the Pro14 league and the European Rugby Champions Cup/European Rugby Challenge Cup. The region they represent covers an area of southeast Wales including Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen with a total population approaching 600,000 and they are affiliated with a number of semi-professional and amateur clubs throughout the area, including Welsh Premier Division sides Bedwas RFC, Cross Keys RFC, Ebbw Vale RFC and Newport RFC.
Rugby union in Wales is the national sport and is considered a large part of national culture. Rugby union is thought to have reached Wales in the 1850s, with the national body, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) being formed in 1881. Wales are considered to be one of the most successful national sides in Rugby Union, having won the most Six Nations Championships, as well as having reached 3 World Cup semi finals in 1987, 2011 and 2019, having finished 3rd in the inaugural competition and having finished 4th in 2011 in a repeat of the first third place play-off. The Welsh team of the 1970s is considered to be arguably the greatest national team of all time, prompting many experts in the game to suggest that had the Rugby World Cup existed during this period, Wales would be amongst the list of World Cup winners. Following their fourth-place finish in the latest World Cup, they are ranked 4th in the world, behind England but ahead of Ireland.
Cardiff Rugby Football Club is a rugby union football club based in Cardiff, the capital city of Wales. The club was founded in 1876 and played their first few matches at Sophia Gardens, shortly after which relocating to Cardiff Arms Park where they have been based ever since.
Pontypool Rugby Football Club is a Welsh rugby union team based in the town of Pontypool. They play in the WRU Championship and due to the regionalisation of Welsh rugby in 2003 Pontypool RFC is now a feeder club to The Dragons regional team. Pontypool play their home matches at Pontypool Park. Their traditional home kit is Red, White and Black hooped shirt and socks with white shorts, although they did gradually shift to wearing black shorts post-2003.
Bridgend Ravens are a semi-professional rugby union club based in Bridgend, South Wales.
Pontyclun Rugby Football Club is a Welsh rugby union team based in Pontyclun, Wales. Pontyclun RFC is a member of the Welsh Rugby Union and is a feeder club for the Cardiff Blues.
The 2009–10 Principality Premiership was the fifteenth Principality Premiership season and the sixth under its current format. The season began in August 2009 and ended in May 2010. Fourteen teams played each other on a home and away basis, with teams earning four points for a win, and a bonus point for scoring four or more tries in a match. The losing team may also earn a bonus point if they lose by seven points or less.
Lenny/Lennie Woodard is a professional rugby footballer of the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. He played representative level rugby union (RU) for Wales, and at club level for Croesyceiliog RFC, South Glamorgan Institute RFC, Pontypool RFC, Ebbw Vale RFC, London Welsh RFC, Pontypridd RFC, Bridgend RFC, Aberavon RFC, Birmingham & Solihull R.F.C., Tonmawr RFC, Glamorgan Wanderers RFC, Maesteg RFC, Cross Keys RFC and Newbridge RFC, as a Wing, i.e. number 11 or 14, and representative level rugby league (RL) for Wales, and at club level for Bridgend Blue Bulls and Celtic Crusaders, as a wing, i.e. number 2 or 5.
Matthew Silva is a Welsh rugby union coach, who is the current coach of RGC 1404. He is a former rugby union and professional rugby league footballer, who played from the 1980s to the 2000s. In rugby union (RU), he played as a number eight, fly-half, centre, wing and fullback. In rugby league (RL), he played as a fullback, i.e. number 1.
The 2010–11 Principality Premiership is the sixteenth Principality Premiership season and the seventh under its current format. The season began in August 2010 and will end in May 2011. Fourteen teams are playing each other on a home and away basis, with the standard bonus point system determining placement—4 points for a win, 2 for a draw, and separate bonus points for scoring four or more tries in a match and losing by seven points or less.
The WRU National Championship is the second tier of professional rugby union in Wales. The league was reformed by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) in 2012.
The 2013–14 British and Irish Cup was the fifth season of the annual rugby union competition for second tier, semi-professional clubs from Britain and Ireland. Leinster A were the defending champions having won the 2012–13 Final with a 78th minute penalty by Noel Reid to beat Newcastle Falcons 18–17 at their home ground Kingston Park. There has been four different winners and four different losing finalists of the competition in the first four seasons of its existence.
The 1998–99 rebel season in rugby union occurred when two clubs affiliated to the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), Cardiff RFC and Swansea RFC, refused to play in the WRU-sanctioned Welsh Premier Division that season and instead opted to play friendly matches against clubs from the English Premiership. The two clubs' position came about after the WRU rejected requests by the club to pursue changes to the league structure in Welsh club rugby and in particular to set up a cross-border league involving other clubs in Britain, and the two clubs refused to sign up to a loyalty agreement with the WRU committing them to the current league setup.
The Welsh–Scottish League was a rugby union league in Scotland and Wales jointly implemented by the Scottish Rugby Union and the Welsh Rugby Union from the 1999–2000 season onwards. It was a precursor to the Celtic League and lasted three seasons, being disbanded after the Celtic League was set up.
The 2016–17 Principality Premiership was the first season of the new format of the Principality Premiership, the top tier of club rugby in Wales run by the Welsh Rugby Union. It was contested by sixteen Welsh clubs following an expansion from twelve teams. The next two seasons will be "ring-fenced" and will have no relegation until the 2018–19 season. The competition was won by Merthyr in their first season in the Premiership. The second-tier competition was won by Newport who won their first silverware since the 2003–04 Premiership season.
The 2017–18 Principality Premiership was the second season of the new format of the Principality Premiership, the top tier of club rugby in Wales run by the Welsh Rugby Union. It was contested by sixteen Welsh clubs following an expansion from twelve teams at the start of the 2016–17 season. This season will be "ring-fenced" and relegation will return at the end of the 2018–19 season. The competition was won by Merthyr for the second consecutive year; this season also marked a "double" for Merthyr as they also won the 2017–18 WRU National Cup.
The 2016–17 WRU Championship was the fifth season of the WRU Championship, the second tier of club rugby in Wales run by the Welsh Rugby Union. It is the first season to feature 12 teams, reduced from 14 in previous seasons. The next two seasons will be "ring-fenced" with the champion club not being promoted due to changes in the 2016-17 Principality Premiership. The competition was won by Pontypool. The bottom two clubs that were relegated were Glamorgan Wanderers and Dunvant.
The 2018–19 Principality Premiership was the third season of the new format of the Principality Premiership, the top tier of club rugby in Wales run by the Welsh Rugby Union. It was contested by sixteen Welsh clubs following an expansion from twelve teams at the start of the 2016–17 season. The 2018–19 season saw the end of "ring-fencing" and relegation returned for this season with four teams being automatically relegated to the 2019–20 WRU Championship and a fifth team avoiding relegation by winning a playoff.
The 2019–20 WRU Championship was the eighth season of the WRU Championship, the second tier of club rugby in Wales run by the Welsh Rugby Union. The league expanded to 14 teams from 12 seasons for the previous three seasons.