Whether you trace the roots of rugby back to the handball games played by the Romans at forts like Caerleon and Caerwent, the rough and tumble game of Normandy known as 'La Soule', the Cornish game of 'Hurling' dating back to the Bronze Age or the inter-village 'Cnappan' battles found in Pembrokeshire in the 17th century, there is no denying the game is a vital ingredient in the life-blood of the Welsh nation.
The game was introduced to Wales at Lampeter College in the mid-nineteenth century using the Rugby School rules. In September, 1875 the South Wales Football Union was created in Brecon 'with the intention of playing matches with the principal clubs in the West of England and the neighbourhood - the rugby rules will be the adopted code'.
But it was the selection of the first official Welsh team by the remarkable Richard Mullock to face England at Mr Richardson's Field, Blackheath on 19th February 1881, that hastened the formation of what we now know as the Welsh Rugby Union.
The WRU have been the guardians of Wales's national sport since 1881. A group of 11 clubs - Swansea, Lampeter, Llandeilo, Cardiff, Newport, Llanelli, Merthyr, Llandovery, Brecon, Pontypool and Bangor - came together at the Castle Hotel, Neath on 12th March 1881, to form the Welsh Rugby Football Union. It was a meeting that took place on the same day that Cardiff beat Llanelli in the fourth South Wales Challenge Cup Final in Neath.
In the modern era, the WRU as a business blends the traditional with the modern; with over 125 years of rugby tradition and heritage behind us. The benefits of the restructure of professional rugby have reaped huge rewards since 2003 with three Six Nations Grand Slams, in 2005, 2008 and 2012, and a fourth championship title in 2013. The Wales Sevens team won the Rugby World Cup Sevens title in Dubai in 2009 and there was also a semi-final place at the 2011 Rugby World Cup which helped turn this period into a third Golden Era for Welsh rugby. Further successes at age grade level, led by Wales Under 20 reaching the World Junior Championships final in 2013, have ensured a conveyor belt of talent has been delivered to the Regions and senior Welsh squad and the Wales Sevens side, as one of the core teams on the IRB World Sevens circuit, continue to provide great exposure for burgeoning young talent on a global stage.
The sights and sounds of the 2005, 2008 and 2012 Grand Slams will never be forgotten, and the scenes at the end of the record breaking victory over England (30-3) that made it back-to-back Six Nations titles for the first time 34 years in 2013, proved once again that nothing excites and unites a nation in equal measure than Welsh rugby played at its best.
Welsh rugby has a glittering past, an exciting present and a wonderful future.