GET READY – SUPER RYGBI CYMRU IS COMING IN SEPTEMBER 2024


Welsh rugby is about to undergo the biggest structural shake-up since the introduction of Regional rugby in 2003 with the creation of the 10-team Super Rygbi Cymru (pic: WRU).

Following 9 months of applications and licencing, the 10 licenced clubs will move out of the community game in Wales to become aligned with the professional tier as a way to bridge the gap for players moving between the academies and the regions.

Super Rygbi Cymru (the official competition name replacing Elite Domestic Competition) will kick-off on the second weekend of September (Saturday, 14 September) and will see the clubs play 18 home and away league fixtures in the regular season before progressing to three rounds of play-offs and a Grand Final.  Every team is guaranteed at least one Play-Off match and a further four games in the cup competition that will take place during the 6 Nations window, giving each team a minimum of 23 fixtures over the course of the season.

The first round of fixtures will see the last ever Indigo Premiership and WRU Premiership Cup winners Llandovery head to Pontypool Park to kick-off their pursuit of more silverware. The full fixtures for Round 1 will be:
                                                         
Carmarthen Quins v Swansea
Ebbw Vale v Aberavon         
Newport v Bridgend
Pontypool v Llandovery
RGC v Cardiff    

If the Drovers can match their double-winning campaign in 2023-23 next season then they would play a maximum of 26 matches.

As well as playing in the Super Rygbi Cymru trophy and cup, the 10 teams will also get the chance during the regular league campaign to fight for the ‘SRC Challenge Shield’. Similar to New Zealand’s Ranfurly Shield, the ‘holder’ will put up the Shield for competition in every home game in the regular league season.  As the final winners of the Premiership Cup, Llandovery RFC will be the inaugural Shield holders going into this first season. Llandovery’s first defence of the Challenge Shield will be their first home game of the season against RGC in Round 2 at Church Bank.

Llandovery were unbeaten in 15 league and cup matches last season and will go into the first ever Super Rygbi Cymru season with an 18 match home winning streak dating back to 10 March 2023.

“The buy in from all the clubs has been fantastic and we’ve had many good planning meetings in the build-up to this launch, which we deliberately delayed to allow the final season of the Indigo Premiership to reach its conclusion.  Much has been said of the EDC to date, but now we’re excited to finally launch, Super Rygbi Cymru, as a fresh start.  The competition’s new look and feel is designed to be dynamic and eye catching, but unique to us.  It builds on our unique heritage and past, but captures our new ambitions for the future; the energy of the competition, the rising talent, and the working together,” said WRU Head of Player Development, John Alder.

“We’ve tried to be creative in our thinking about the design of the competition while keeping it aligned to the professional game calendar.   Each club will have at least 11 home games over the course of the season but we also wanted to ensure there is lots to play for, plenty of jeopardy, and there are exciting local derbies. The Regions are all on board and the new structure should raise standards all round.

“We’re excited to now see the start line of this new competition. Our goal has always been to provide better playing opportunities for current Academy and Wales Pathway players, as well as providing a vital alternative route into the professional game for players either released by the Regions, or those who develop later.

“We want Super Rygbi Cymru to be not only a breeding ground and finishing school for ambitious players to ultimately push them through into the Regions, the URC, and on to Wales but for it to be the optimal place for Wales’s best domestic players to play.  Our ambition over the next few years is to transform the competition into a competitive, progressive, and sustainable domestic rugby competition.

“We believe we have created the framework for an exciting and intense competition for both young and experienced players, clubs, and fans alike, with a new, vibrant, and fresh brand reflective of where we’ve come from and where we want to go – and all though a new collaborative system between the Regions and their Affiliate clubs.

“One of the exciting features will be seeing the seasoned semi-pro players who have operated to such a high standard over the past season playing alongside some of our most exciting talent. The link between the former Scarlets, Dragons and Wales centre Adam Warren and Wales U20 prospect Macs Page at Llandovery has been a classic example of how the younger players can learn from those who have been there and done it all.

“Alex Mann, Mackenzie Martin, and Lucas de la Rua have all benefitted from playing alongside Morgan Allen in the Cardiff back row, while Wales U20 caps Dylan Keller-Griffiths and Sam Scarfe have developed nicely in the Pontypool front row in recent seasons.

“Joe Westwood and Harri Ackerman have come through the ranks at Newport to make their Dragons debuts, while Dan Edwards and Morgan Morse both played for Swansea before clinching long-term deals at the Ospreys – and our goal is to make it even more intense, competitive, professional and aspirational over the next few years.”

The 10 clubs have all signed up to a ‘salary cap’ system that will enable them to spend up to £150,000 on a squad of 32 players. There will be exceptions to this rule (see notes below).

The WRU will be providing £105,000 to each club, who in return not only have to commit to match funding that sum each season, but are also required to meet a set of minimum operating expectations in the running of both the club and their SRC rugby team.

Season Structure

Super Rygbi Cymru (SRC) will be aligned to the professional game calendar and the United Rugby Championship to create a collaborative working relationship between the 10 clubs and the four Regions. This will include breaks in the competition during the Autumn and Six Nations international windows.

The season will be played in three blocks (September & October / December / April & May):
Regular Season: 18 Rounds with all 10 teams playing each other home and away
Post-Season Finals: The post-regular season finals will consist of four knock-out stages

There will be three pieces of silverware available to the teams – the Super Rygbi Cymru Trophy, the Super Rygbi Cymru Cup, and the Challenger Shield.

2024-25 Super Rygbi Cymru Season

Begins on the weekend of 14 September and concludes with the Grand Final on or around Saturday 17 May 2025 (at a neutral venue).

The regular season will conclude on weekend of 19 April 2025. The following are the block dates:
Block 1: Rounds 1 – 7: 14 September 24 – 26 October 24
Block 2: Rounds 8 – 14: 23 November 24 – 4th January 25
Block 3: Rounds 15 – 18, and Post-Season Finals: 29 March 25 – 17 May 25

Post-Season Finals
Wild Card Finals (7 v 10, 8 v 9)
Quarter-Finals (1 v Wildcard 1, 2 v Wildcard 2, 3 v 6, and 4 v 5)
Semi-Finals (
Grand Final (playing for the Trophy)

Challenger Shield
A Challenger Shield will be introduced as part of the regular season. The holding club must defend the shield in all home games during the regular season (but not during Post Season Finals). If the challenger beats them, they will become the new holder of the shield and required to defend it at their next home game.

Super Rygbi Cymru Cup

A cup competition will be introduced during the 6 Nations. There will be four rounds and a Final (the draw will be conducted in season).

There will be two pools of five clubs, each playing two home and two away games. The winners of each Pool will play-off in the Cup Final.

SRC Competition Governance
The SRC governance committee will oversee the effective management, integrity, and adherence to established regulations of the competition and will serve as a sub-committee of the Rugby Management Board (RMB), which is a sub-board of the Professional Rugby Board.  The SRC Governance Committee will have nine members:
– 3 representatives of the WRU Performance team (the WRU’s SRC Competition Manager, Performance Director, and Head of Player Development (who will act as Chair in the inaugural year)
– 2 elected Regional representatives from the RMB
– 2 representatives to be elected from the 10 Licenced Clubs
– 2 representatives of the Community Game, being the Chair of the Community Game Board and WRU Community Director (for the inaugural Licence term of 3 years)

There will also be three sub-committees: SRC Medical Advisory Group; SRC Disciplinary Committee; and SRC Commercial Group

Competition Rules & Regulations

Competition Rules and Regulations are currently in development and will be seeking to align where possible to the URC and the RFU Championship. SRC will adopt the professional game tackle and disciplinary laws. Considerations in the Rules and Regulations also include permit arrangements between the Professional and Community games.

Obligations of participating Clubs are also included as part of the terms of their Licence (for example, Commercial obligations and the Minimum Operating Expectations).

All clubs (and Regions) are required to enter into a mutually beneficial Regional Club Affiliate Partnership. The Regions are already underway, and are at different stages, in allocating their Academy players to their Affiliate clubs for next season. This allocation will be based on factors such as where a player is from, where he played his junior rugby, his specific needs and opportunities.  The Regions are committed to work in a mutually supportive and equitable way with all their Affiliate clubs both regarding players, rugby programmes and systems, coaching and development.

Player Salary Cap

The Player Salary Cap for the 2024-25 SRC season has been set at £150,000pa. However, there is salary cap relief and there are exemptions for recently released Regional Players (at U18 and from a Senior Academy), Dual Contracted Players, and Injuries.  The main idea is to encourage and support the retention of high potential players within Wales and in the competition. That’s why there will be exemptions and relief within the salary cap for certain periods of time.

SUPER RYGBI CYMRU FIXTURES 2024-25

ROUND 1 – 14.09.2024
Carmarthen Quins v Swansea    
Ebbw Vale v Aberavon  
Newport v Bridgend
Pontypool v Llandovery
RGC v Cardiff                  

ROUND           2 – 21.09.2024

Aberavon v Carmarthen Quins  
Bridgend v Pontypool   
Cardiff v Ebbw Vale
Llandovery v RGC
Swansea v Newport       

ROUND           3 – 28.09.2024

Carmarthen Quins v Cardiff
Ebbw Vale v Llandovery
Newport v Aberavon
RGC v Pontypool
Swansea v Bridgend      

ROUND           4 – 05.10.2024

Aberavon v Newport
Bridgend v Swansea
Cardiff v Carmarthen Quins
Llandovery v Ebbw Vale
Pontypool v RGC                           

ROUND           5 – 12.10.2024
Aberavon v Bridgend
Carmarthen Quins v Pontypool 
Ebbw Vale v RGC
Newport v Llandovery
Swansea v Cardiff                        

ROUND           6 – 19.10.2024

Bridgend v Ebbw Vale
Cardiff v Aberavon
Llandovery v Swansea
Pontypool v Newport
RGC v Carmarthen Quins            

ROUND           7 – 26.10.2024

Aberavon v Llandovery
Cardiff v Bridgend
Carmarthen Quins v Ebbw Vale
Newport v RGC
Swansea v Pontypool    

ROUND           8 – 23.11.2024

Bridgend v Carmarthen Quins
Ebbw Vale v Newport
Llandovery v Cardiff      
Pontypool v Aberavon
RGC v Swansea                             

ROUND           9 – 30.11.2024

Aberavon v RGC
Cardiff v Pontypool
Llandovery v Bridgend
Newport v Carmarthen Quins
Swansea v Ebbw Vale    

ROUND           10 – 07.12.2024         

Aberavon v Ebbw Vale
Bridgend v Newport
Cardiff v RGC
Llandovery v Pontypool
Swansea v Carmarthen Quins

ROUND           11 – 14.12.2024         

Carmarthen Quins v Aberavon
Ebbw Vale v Cardiff
Newport v Swansea
Pontypool v Bridgend
RGC v Llandovery           

ROUND           12 – 21.12.2024 (DERBY ROUND)

Aberavon v Swansea
Bridgend v RGC
Cardiff v Newport
Llandovery v Carmarthen Quins
Pontypool v Ebbw Vale

ROUND           13 – 28.12.2024           (DERBY ROUND)

Carmarthen Quins v Llandovery
Ebbw Vale v Pontypool
Newport v Cardiff         
RGC v Bridgend
Swansea v Aberavon    
                                          
ROUND           14 – 04.01.2025                       
Bridgend v Aberavon
Cardiff v Swansea
Llandovery v Newport
Pontypool v Carmarthen Quins
RGC v Ebbw Vale            

ROUND           15 – 29.03.2025         

Aberavon v Cardiff
Carmarthen Quins v RGC
Ebbw Vale v Bridgend
Newport v Pontypool
Swansea v Llandovery   

ROUND           16 – 05.04.2025         

Bridgend v Cardiff         
Ebbw Vale v Carmarthen Quins
Llandovery v Aberavon
Pontypool v Swansea
RGC v Newport

ROUND           17 – 12.04.2025         

Aberavon v Pontypool
Cardiff v Llandovery
Carmarthen Quins v Bridgend
Newport v Ebbw Vale
Swansea v RGC 

ROUND           18 – 19.04.2025         

Bridgend v Llandovery
Carmarthen Quins v Newport
Ebbw Vale v Swansea
Pontypool v Cardiff
RGC v Aberavon             

Post Season Finals

Wildcard Play Offs – 26.04.2025
7th        v            10th     (WG 1)
8th        v            9th        (WG 2) 

Quarter-Finals – 03.05.2025

1st         v            WG 1     (QF 1)
4th        v            5th        (QF 2)
2nd        v            WG 2     (QF 3)
3rd        v            6th        (QF 4)  

Semi-Finals – 10.05.2025
            
Winner of QF1   v            Winner of QF 4
Winner of QF2   v            Winner of QF 3 

Grand Final – 17.05.2025

Winner SF 1       v            Winner of SF 2
* Neutral Venue TBC

Super Rygbi Cymru Cup Weekends

ROUND 1 – 25.01.2025
ROUND 2 – 01.02.2025
ROUND 3 – 15.02.2025
ROUND 4 – 01.03.2025
FINAL – 15.03.2025