Indigo Premiership

Cardiff will kick off the defence of their Indigo Premiership title at the home of arch-rivals Pontypridd when the 2022-23 season kicks-off on 3 September.

Steve Law’s side pipped Newport to the top spot with four successive wins in April, including bonus-point triumphs over Pontypridd and Merthyr at the Arms Park, to end a point clear of the Premiership Cup winning Black & Ambers.

The two teams will play their return fixture in the Welsh capital on Boxing Day as one of five festive derby clashes. Among the changes for the new season are:

* A return to home and away matches for the 12 teams
* A return to play-off matches at the end of the season to determine the champions
* All play-off fixtures to be played at club grounds
* More financial investment to help with medical costs
* Prize money for the teams in the Play-Off final


“The derby games that will open the season will be a great start for the supporters. Then they will have the return legs to look forward to over Christmas,” said Premier Division Clubs and Ebbw Vale RFC chairman, Jon Jones.

“Everyone is delighted to see the return of the traditional league format after the disruption of COVID and the return of play-offs will add jeopardy and meaningful fixtures right to the end of the season.

“There have been some notable signings at many clubs that will add real quality to the league. Welsh internationals and seasoned regional players will be joined by a raft of top-quality signings from the Admiral Leagues with many young and talented players following the proven pathway that the Premiership provides.”

Play-offs were last used to determine the champions in the 2016-17 season when Merthyr triumphed 22-18 over Aberavon at the Talbot Athletic Ground. The first season the play-offs were introduced was 2009-10 when Neath beat Swansea 3-1 on try count after the game ended as a 22-22 draw at Cardiff Arms Park.

Pontypridd won four successive titles via the play-offs, while Ebbw Vale won the title at Sardis Road in the 2015-16 campaign.


2009-10 – Neath 22 – 22 Swansea (Neath won 3-1 on try count)

2010-11 – Llanelli 24 – 18 Pontypridd

2011-12 – Pontypridd 15 – 13 Llanelli

2012-13 – Pontypridd 47 – 15 Llanelli

2013-14 – Pontypridd 38 – 17 Cross Keys

2014-15 – Pontypridd 28 – 14 Ebbw Vale

2015-16  – Ebbw Vale 38 – 12 Pontypridd

2016-17 – Merthyr 22 – 18 Aberavon

“Last season went right down to the wire and the 2022-23 campaign looks like being even more exciting with the return of a play-off system to determine the champions,” said WRU Community Rugby director, Geraint John.

“There was an appetite from the clubs, players, fans and broadcasters to see the play-offs return and there will be prize money for the two finalists as well as a home venue advantage for the top ranked team. The semi-finals will also be played at club grounds.

“The viewing figures for the Thursday night live and weekend matches grew over the course of the season and there was a general feel-good factor about the Premiership as Newport won the Cup and Cardiff took the league title.

“Even more importantly, the tournament as a whole was invaluable in giving the young, aspiring professionals at many of the regions a proper baptism in senior rugby. Mason Grady and Cameron Winnett played for both Cardiff RFC and the regional side last season before playing in the Wales U20 campaigns.

“The U20 outside half Dan Edwards had a full season at Aberavon, as did Ben Williams, while Iestyn Hopkins got game time at Swansea. Many other of the current Wales U20 squad in Italy were also involved in Premiership cup and league matches and there is a huge desire across the board to continue to raise standards.”

The new season will kick-off with a round of derby clashes. The champions, Cardiff head to Sardis Road to face Pontypridd, while cup winners Newport host Ebbw Vale. Carmarthen Quins will welcome Llandovery, Llanelli host Swansea in what will be the Whites’ 150th anniversary season and Aberavon will be seeking revenge over Bridgend at the Talbot Athletic Ground after losing to them in April.

“There is no doubt Sardis Road is going to be a tough place to kick-off the defence of our title, but at least we are back home for the return fixture on Boxing Day,” said Cardiff head coach, Steve Law.

“Our new model in conjunction with the regional side worked well for the club, and the players last season. We ticked most boxes in that we won the league and helped a number of players move through the ranks.

“We will have a highly competitive squad of semi-pro players to help support and nurture the academy stars at Cardiff Rugby next season and the goal will be to keep our hands on the title.”

Former Wales defence and Wales Women head coach Rowland Phillips has taken over from Dale McIntosh at Merthyr, while ex-Sale Sharks and Scarlets hooker Marc Jones will be the new man in charge of coaching at Carmarthen Quins. Ex-Ospreys and Cardiff Blues forwards coach Tom Smith has moved in at Bridgend and will be joined by ex-Wales international hooker Scott Baldwin.

There have been some significant summer signings with Wales’ caps Dan Baker and Tavis Knoyle stepping down from regional rugby to play in the Premiership. No 8 Baker is heading from the Dragons to Aberavon, while Knoyle is joining Josh Lewis in leaving Rodney Parade to join Merthyr.

The Ironmen have also recruited long-serving Ospreys lock Lloyd Ashley, while a third Welsh international, Adam Warren, is returning to his home club of Llandovery while RGC have been significantly boosted with the arrival of Wales U20 flanker Ethan Fackrell who is currently featuring for Byron Hayward’s side in Treviso in the U20 Six Nations Summer Series.

“Standards are rising, the quality of the matches is improving and the tournament is becoming increasingly competitive. The WRU is investing more money into the Premiership and the media profile is increasing,” added John.

“We continue to examine ways to make the Premiership an even better gateway to full-time professional rugby for the top young talent in Wales and will remain in constant dialogue with the clubs to find the best way to keep the tournament on an upward curve.”

“We are proud to be sponsoring the Premiership for another year. Being involved with rugby is an important part of our connection with Wales. We have an exciting year ahead of us in terms of growth and we are very privileged to carry the Premiership over the line with us,” said Indigo Group CEO Ian Cole-Wilkins.

                                   WELSH PREMIERSHIP CHAMPIONS

                                   – since regionalisation


2003–04         Newport                                   2013–14          Pontypridd

2004–05          Neath                                       2014–15          Pontypridd

2005–06          Neath                                       2015–16          Ebbw Vale

2006–07          Neath                                       2016–17          Merthyr

2007–08          Neath                                       2017–18          Merthyr

2008–09          Cardiff                                      2018–19          Merthyr

2009–10          Neath                                       2019-20            *Season Suspended

2010–11          Llanelli                                      2020-21            *Season Not Played

2011–12          Pontypridd                                2021-22            Cardiff

2012–13          Pontypridd

WRU Indigo Group Premiership 2022-23

Aberavon v Bridgend
Carmarthen Quins v Llandovery
Llanelli v Swansea
Merthyr v RGC1404
Newport v Ebbw Vale
Pontypridd v Cardiff

Bridgend v Carmarthen Quins
Cardiff v Merthyr
Ebbw Vale v Llanelli
Llandovery v Pontypridd
RGC1404 v Newport
Swansea v Aberavon

Aberavon v Llanelli
Carmarthen Quins v Swansea
Ebbw Vale v RGC1404
Merthyr v Llandovery
Newport v Cardiff
Pontypridd v Bridgend


Llanelli v RGC1404
Aberavon v Carmarthen Quins
Bridgend v Merthyr
Cardiff v Ebbw Vale
Llandovery v Newport
Swansea v Pontypridd

Carmarthen Quins v Llanelli
Ebbw Vale v Llandovery
Merthyr v Swansea
Newport v Bridgend
Pontypridd v Aberavon
RGC1404 v Cardiff

Aberavon v Merthyr
Bridgend v Ebbw Vale
Carmarthen Quins v Pontypridd
Llandovery v RGC1404

Llanelli v Cardiff
Swansea v Newport


Cardiff v Llandovery
Ebbw Vale v Swansea
Merthyr v Carmarthen Quins
Newport v Aberavon
Pontypridd v Llanelli
RGC1404 v Bridgend

Aberavon v Ebbw Vale
Bridgend v Cardiff
Carmarthen Quins v Newport
Llanelli v Llandovery
Pontypridd v Merthyr
Swansea v RGC1404

Cardiff v Swansea
Ebbw Vale v Carmarthen Quins
Llandovery v Bridgend
Merthyr v Llanelli
Newport v Pontypridd
RGC1404 v Aberavon

Aberavon v Cardiff
Carmarthen Quins v RGC1404

Llanelli v Bridgend
Merthyr v Newport
Pontypridd v Ebbw Vale
Swansea v Llandovery

Bridgend v Swansea
Cardiff v Carmarthen Quins
Ebbw Vale v Merthyr
Llandovery v Aberavon
Newport v Llanelli
RGC1404 v Pontypridd

Bridgend v Aberavon
Cardiff v Pontypridd
Ebbw Vale v Newport
Llandovery v Carmarthen Quins
RGC1404 v Merthyr
Swansea v Llanelli


Aberavon v Swansea
Carmarthen Quins v Bridgend
Llanelli v Ebbw Vale
Merthyr v Cardiff
Newport v RGC1404

Pontypridd v Llandovery


Bridgend v Pontypridd
Cardiff v Newport
Llandovery v Merthyr
Llanelli v Aberavon
RGC1404 v Ebbw Vale
Swansea v Carmarthen Quins


Carmarthen Quins v Aberavon
Ebbw Vale v Cardiff
Merthyr v Bridgend
Newport v Llandovery
Pontypridd v Swansea
RGC1404 v Llanelli

Aberavon v Pontypridd
Bridgend v Newport
Cardiff v RGC1404

Llandovery v Ebbw Vale
Llanelli v Carmarthen Quins
Swansea v Merthyr


Cardiff v Llanelli
Ebbw Vale v Bridgend
Merthyr v Aberavon
Newport v Swansea
Pontypridd v Carmarthen Quins
RGC1404 v Llandovery

Aberavon v Newport
Bridgend v RGC1404
Carmarthen Quins v Merthyr
Llandovery v Cardiff
Llanelli v Pontypridd
Swansea v Ebbw Vale

Cardiff v Bridgend
Ebbw Vale v Aberavon
Llandovery v Llanelli
Merthyr v Pontypridd
Newport v Carmarthen Quins
RGC1404 v Swansea


Aberavon v RGC1404
Bridgend v Llandovery
Carmarthen Quins v Ebbw Vale
Llanelli v Merthyr
Pontypridd v Newport
Swansea v Cardiff

Bridgend v Llanelli
Cardiff v Aberavon
Ebbw Vale v Pontypridd
Llandovery v Swansea
Newport v Merthyr
RGC1404 v Carmarthen Quins

Llanelli v Newport
Merthyr v Ebbw Vale
Aberavon v Llandovery
Pontypridd v RGC 1404
Carmarthen Quins v Cardiff
Swansea v Bridgend

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