THE Welsh Rugby Union is braced for a financial hit caused because of coronavirus – saying the lockdown of the game is likely to last "months rather than weeks".

The governing body is expecting to feel the pinch because of the pandemic - which has led to all forms of rugby in Wales being suspended until at least next month - but has pledged to help its clubs.

In the first of a planned weekly update, the WRU said that grants due at the end of April will be paid as normal and that all clubs will receive an additional £1,000 funding as part of contingency plans, with emergency funding allocated to high-priority cases.

The funding is in addition to the £100,000 pledged to those clubs that were hit by flooding during Storm Dennis.

The Union says it will need help from the Welsh Government but that no approach has been made because "the nation's health and well-being is clearly more important".

"It is not clear when we will be able to resume playing. The indications are that it will be months rather than weeks before we can resume," read the update.

"From a financial perspective the WRU is forecasting a significant drop in revenue from international and club competitions. Our stadium events programme is also uncertain.

"As a consequence, we will make a substantial loss this year and we are forecasting a knock-on impact into the next financial year at least, as we expect it to take time for our operations to return to business as usual status.

"We understand and acknowledge that the situation is the same for all rugby entities inside and outside Wales, as it is for many Welsh businesses and organisations."

The WRU is working closely with the Welsh Rugby Players association, the Professional Rugby Board, the Community Rugby Board, clubs and districts, its commercial partners, sponsors and broadcasters.

"These are testing times and our commitment is to do everything possible to safeguard the future of our game in Wales," the update concludes.

"Please be assured we will do all we can with the resources available to support the many stakeholders that we serve.

"We will all have to make difficult choices and compromises. We also know we will need to evolve our plan as things change and as new information comes to light.

"We can assure you any decisions made by the WRU will be made with the best interests of everyone in the game."

The Community Game Board will assess the options for the resumption of the club game with an update expected on Monday, March 31.