THE Welsh Rugby Union has earmarked £100,000 for an ‘exceptional circumstances’ fund to help clubs affected by the Storm Dennis flooding.

In Gwent, the likes of Cross Keys, Bedwas, Risca, Blackwood and Newport HSOB found their pitches and clubhouses under water last weekend after extreme rainfall.

The clear-up operation has been in full swing this week and news of the governing body’s plans will come as a big relief to clubs in the region and up and down the rest of the country.

A WRU statement read: “The Welsh Rugby Union has agreed an action plan to support rugby clubs around Wales affected by ‘Storm Dennis’.

“After a meeting of the Community Rugby Board earlier this week, the Union’s staff have been working to assess the impact of the storm in rugby communities around the country and have devised a plan to provide both extra help and extra funding to impacted clubs.

“An ‘exceptional circumstances’ fund has been established with the Union earmarking £100k to kick-start the provision whilst also seeking further support.

“Additional funds will be raised by a bucket collection at the Wales international match in Cardiff this weekend, against France, and a range of other resources are currently being sourced.

“Some clubs have informed the WRU that they have lost rugby equipment and the Union are also taking steps to help on this front alongside providing specialist expertise to the task of recovering and maintaining damaged pitches.

“The Union will also be providing further practical help with staff members pledging to spend a full working day at affected clubs, to help out in any way they can, and will continue to monitor the situation in the days and months ahead as part of a long term strategy to support rugby communities around Wales.”

WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips said: “These are exceptional circumstances and we have therefore decided to allocate dedicated funds and resources to help out rugby clubs in need in communities throughout the country.

“There is money put aside for emergencies such as these and we will take great care to ensure that we target both money and resources in the right areas so that we are helping those who need it most.”