Welsh Championship

The WRU National Championship (or Specsavers Championship for sponsorship reasons) is the second tier of professional rugby union in Wales. The league was reformed by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) in 2012.

WRU National Championship
Founded2012
Country Wales
Number of teams14
Level on pyramid2
Relegation toWRU Division One East
WRU Division One West
Domestic cup(s)WRU Challenge Cup
Current championsPontypool RFC
Most championshipsPontypool (3 Titles since 2012)
TV partnersBBC Wales, S4C, BBC Sport
WebsiteWRU National Championship
Current: 2019–20 WRU Championship

The current National Championship champions are Pontypool RFC, who won consecutive titles in 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19.

HistoryEdit

In 2012, the new division was formed from the restructuring of the Welsh Premier Division. The Premier Division was 'slimmed down' to 12 teams with Pontypool RFC and Tonmawr RFC relegated from the division. Tonmawr had already made the decision to opt out of the new league and would start the 2012–13 season in Division Six.

The National Championship is the second tier, which lies below the first tier Welsh Premier Division in Welsh club rugby. Above Welsh club rugby sides are the four regions, the Scarlets, Ospreys, Cardiff Blues, and Dragons, as part of regional rugby, who instead compete in the Pro14.

Restructuring processEdit

The teams for the league would be decided on three factors. Firstly, the holding of an 'A Licence' based on stadium criteria. The signing of a 'Participation Agreement' and judged on league results over the previous six seasons. It was originally decided that the Premiership would reduce in size to ten teams.[1] It was announced that four clubs, Pontypool, Tonmwar, Bridgend Ravens and Carmarthen Quins RFC 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 Camarthen included.[2] Tonmawr, citing financial reasons, opted not to take part in the new league at all and re-entered themselves into Division Six.[3]

2012 Pontypool legal challengeEdit

The new league came under scrutiny in 2012 when Pontypool RFC launched a legal challenge to avoid being the only club relegated to the new division, which they ultimately lost on the grounds of 'meritocracy'.[4][5] Pontypool had finished 12th in the previous campaign, above rivals Bedwas RFC and level on points with historic rivals Newport RFC.

2018–19 seasonEdit

POS TEAM PL W D L PF PA DIFF PTS
1 Pontypool RFC 15 15 0 0 529 203 326 73
2 Ystrad Rhondda RFC 18 14 0 4 449 362 87 65
3 Narberth RFC 17 14 0 3 389 260 129 63
4 Cardiff Met RFC 19 12 1 6 475 328 147 59
5 Bedlinog RFC 16 6 1 9 276 350 -74 33
6 Maesteg Harlequins RFC 13 7 0 6 234 289 -55 29
7 Trebanos RFC 15 5 0 10 288 330 -42 29
8 Newbridge RFC 18 5 1 12 308 436 -128 28
9 Tata Steel RFC 14 4 0 10 349 378 -29 26
10 Beddau RFC 17 4 0 13 320 422 -102 26
11 Rhydyfelin RFC 15 4 1 10 235 337 -102 24
12 Newcastle Emlyn RFC 15 4 0 11 273 430 -157 21

Correct as of 26 February 2019

2017–18 seasonEdit

POS TEAM PL W D L PF PA DIFF PTS
1 Pontypool RFC 22 22 0 0 926 239 687 107
2 Narberth RFC 22 14 1 7 595 439 156 72
3 Trebanos RFC 22 14 0 8 501 335 166 69
4 Tata Steel RFC 22 13 0 9 546 483 63 66
5 Newbridge RFC 22 12 0 10 460 461 -1 58
6 Bedlinog RFC 22 10 2 10 480 501 -21 58
7 Rhydyfelin RFC 22 10 0 12 391 435 -44 49
8 Newcastle Emlyn RFC 22 9 1 12 470 633 -163 47
9 Beddau RFC 22 8 0 14 379 543 -164 43
10 Cardiff Met RFC 22 7 2 13 473 638 -165 40
11 Skewen RFC (r) 22 7 0 15 351 535 -184 34
12 Glynneath RFC (r) 22 3 0 19 292 622 -330 17

"r" denotes relegation to the WRU Division One East or WRU Division One West

2016–17 seasonEdit

POS TEAM PL W D L PF PA DIFF PTS
1 Pontypool RFC 22 21 0 1 805 279 526 98
2 Narberth RFC 22 17 0 5 649 362 287 81
3 Tata Steel RFC 22 14 0 8 578 451 127 70
4 Beddau RFC 22 14 0 8 535 397 138 70
5 Newcastle Emlyn RFC 22 10 1 11 411 504 -93 54
6 Cardiff Met RFC 22 10 0 12 435 562 -127 46
7 Newbridge RFC 22 9 0 13 403 534 -131 45
8 Glynneath RFC 22 10 0 12 339 488 -149 44
9 Bedlinog RFC 22 8 1 13 407 440 -33 44
10 Skewen RFC 22 8 1 13 314 418 -104 41
11 The Wanderers (r) 22 7 1 14 405 490 -85 41
12 Dunvant RFC (r) 22 2 0 20 434 790 -356 16

2015–16 seasonEdit

POS TEAM PL W D L PF PA DIFF PTS
1 Merthyr RFC 26 24 0 2 1192 289 903 118
2 Swansea RFC 26 22 1 3 859 402 457 108
3 Bargoed RFC 26 19 1 6 779 401 378 97
4 RGC 1404 RFC 26 19 0 7 928 460 468 96
5 Pontypool RFC 26 19 1 6 794 428 366 94
6 Beddau RFC 26 10 1 15 537 567 -30 52
7 Cardiff Met RFC 26 9 0 17 631 828 -197 51
8 Tata Steel RFC 26 11 0 15 622 787 -165 50
9 Narberth RFC 26 8 1 17 564 710 -146 48
10 Newcastle Emlyn RFC 26 10 0 16 538 668 -130 47
11 Newbridge RFC 26 9 0 17 501 686 -185 47
12 Glynneath RFC 26 9 0 17 461 767 -306 45
13 Bridgend Athletic RFC 26 9 1 16 362 648 -286 43
14 Llanharan RFC 26 1 0 25 277 1404 -1127 7

2014–15 seasonEdit

POS TEAM PL W D L PF PA DIFF PTS
1 Bargoed RFC 26 25 0 1 958 362 596 124
2 Swansea RFC 26 22 0 4 909 386 523 107
3 Merthyr RFC 26 19 0 7 671 452 219 89
4 RGC 1404 RFC 26 15 0 11 848 436 412 83
5 Pontypool RFC 26 16 0 10 639 483 156 77
6 Narberth RFC 26 15 1 10 542 562 -20 70
7 Cardiff Met RFC 26 14 0 12 648 533 115 66
8 Bridgend Athletic RFC 26 14 0 12 496 465 31 65
9 Tata Steel RFC 26 12 0 14 486 651 -165 58
10 Glynneath RFC 26 9 0 17 532 653 -121 43
11 Newbridge RFC 26 7 1 18 479 777 -298 39
12 Llanharan RFC 26 6 0 20 475 663 -188 33
13 Tondu RFC 26 4 0 22 461 717 -256 30
14 Blackwood RFC 26 3 0 23 368 1372 -1004 20

WinnersEdit

Season Winners
2012-13 Ebbw Vale RFC
2013-14 Ebbw Vale RFC
2014-15 Bargoed RFC
2015-16 Merthyr RFC
2016-17 Pontypool RFC
2017-18 Pontypool RFC
2018-19 Pontypool RFC

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Premier Division to be Reduced to ten teams". Bbc.co.uk. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Bridgend and Camarthen to join extended league". Bbc.co.uk. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  3. ^ "Tonmawr drop out of league". Thisissouthwales.co.uk. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  4. ^ "Pontypool 'not good' enough for league". Bbc.co.uk. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  5. ^ "Pontypool lose legal challenge". Bbc.co.uk. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012.

External linksEdit