With more than 3000 players and 50 referees over three days, the WRU and the Urdd today announced that the Welsh National Schools 7s Rugby Competition, Pencoed 2017 will be the largest ever held in Wales.
The competition, which will be held on the 4-6 April 2017, is open to teams from any secondary school or further education college in Wales.
Pencoed will host up to 300 hours of rugby, across 12 playing fields, including Bridgend College Pencoed, Pencoed Secondary School and Pencoed Rugby Club.
WRU Head of Rugby Participation Ryan Jones said: “Sevens rugby is an exciting game which needs little introduction in Wales after the heroics of some of our greatest national Sevens players representing GB in Rio last summer.
“On the back of such positive imagery of Sevens rugby beamed across the world, this is an exciting joint venture with the Urdd which will see the young people of Wales given more opportunity to participate in our sport.
“The Welsh National Schools 7s Rugby Competition will be the biggest tournament of its kind to be held in Wales and further confirms the WRU’s ambition to increase participation by offering alternative forms of the game to new and existing players.
“This is a fantastic prospect for our young players which will hopefully bring a lasting positive rugby experience to engage players and their families in the sport for life. On behalf of the Welsh Rugby Union, I am very pleased to give the support to enable this to happen.”
In response to the announcement Councillor Huw David, the Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council, said: “As a county which has a proud history in rugby, we are very pleased that the Urdd and Welsh Rugby Union have decided to hold this major festival of 7s rugby here in Bridgend County Borough.
“Hundreds of local boys and girls play rugby every week across the county borough and I am sure that schools will be extremely excited about the opportunity to take part in such a prestigious tournament on their doorstep.
“We look forward to welcoming young players from all over Wales, and their families, to the area in April, and hope to see them again a month later when the Urdd National Eisteddfod itself is held in Pencoed.”
More girls’ and boys’ rugby across Wales
In addition to the major event in Pencoed, the Urdd and WRU are working closely on developing competitions for boys and girls across Wales.
Among the developments for 2016/17 are a national 7s competition for primary schools and a national tag rugby competition for primary age girls, which will culminate in the finals in Aberystwyth in May.
For secondary schools there will be a further two competitions, a national touch rugby competition for boys, girls and mixed teams; and a national 7s rugby competition for girls, which will culminate in the finals in Llanelli in June.
Gary Lewis, Urdd Gobaith Cymru’s Director of Sports said, “The Urdd is very pleased to be able to announce the strengthening of our partnership with the Welsh Rugby Union, and as a result we have been able to expand on all of our girls and boys’ rugby activity, which includes the national 7s rugby competition which will be a fantastic three days of rugby.
“A special thanks goes to Pencoed Town Council, Pencoed Rugby Club, Bridgend College, Pencoed Comprehensive School and Bridgend County Borough Council for their assistance in securing the location for the competition. We would also like to thank the Urdd sports department’s main sponsor, Aberystwyth University. This partnership helps us develop all aspects of the department’s work, including competitions, encouraging children and young people to participate in all types of sports.”
More information about the rugby competitions, and all other Urdd Gobaith Cymru sports activities can be found on the website www.urdd.cymru/sport