WALES are targeting semi-final places as a minimum at the next men’s World Cup in 2027 and the 2029 Women’s World Cup as part of a new five-year plan.

The Welsh Rugby Union wants the men’s and women’s national teams to be “consistently” in the top five of the world rankings and to compete for honours annually in the Six Nations.

Wales are currently 10th and eighth in the World Rugby men’s and women’s rankings respectively, while both teams finished bottom of their respective Six Nations tables earlier this year.

A strategy document published on Wednesday titled ‘One Wales, where rugby matters more’ also targets improvements in the professional club game, growing the number of children participating in grassroots rugby, achieving financial sustainability across the Welsh game and an improvement in positive public sentiment towards Welsh rugby.

The national-team targets will be underpinned by the creation of “inspiring” senior programmes and a “coherent” talent identification and development system, the strategy document said.

There will be a reduced focus on seeking to bring “marquee” male players back to Wales, but on the women’s side the WRU is seeking to coax back stars from England’s Premiership to be involved in “a compelling competition offering for elite Welsh players”.

LEADERS: WRU CEO Abi Tierney and WRU Chair Richard Collier-Keywood at the press conference to announce the WRU One Wales strategyLEADERS: WRU CEO Abi Tierney and WRU Chair Richard Collier-Keywood at the press conference to announce the WRU One Wales strategy (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

WRU chief executive Abi Tierney wrote in an open letter published on Wednesday that the plan sought “to change the fortunes of both our senior men’s and women’s sides who have underachieved in terms of the results posted last year, and our four regional clubs who all aim to improve results in their respective competitions”.

“The bottom line is that the ultimate measure of progress is winning on the field,” she wrote.

The WRU said it will make “equitable” investment into the men and boys’ and women and girls’ community game. The independent Rafferty review published last year called for further investment in the women and girls’ game, saying it was “not properly supported or developed”.

The new strategy document also seeks to put the Welsh game on a stronger financial footing, which the WRU says it intends to do by restructuring debt and by considering “other funding methods to allow investment into rugby”.

The WRU wants to become the “employer of choice” in Wales as it rebuilds its governance structures on the back of the damning Rafferty review, which found the WRU was an “unforgiving, even vindictive” place to work for some of its employees.

Tierney added: “We are the smallest Tier One rugby nation, but we believe we can deliver this strategy because of the passion of our supporters, because rugby matters more in Wales.

“The strength of the game in Wales will be in our unity and this significant road map embodies the voices of everyone associated with the game.

“We have created something that we can all be really proud of, something which will see us rise sustainably to new heights by 2029.”