The Wales Sevens team has been scrapped for the foreseeable future due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.
The WRU has announced that the global nature of the pandemic and its financial implication, including the disruption of the World Series, has rendered the men’s Sevens programme unsustainable in the current climate.
With the Welsh game facing a major cash shortfall, the decision is not a huge surprise.
WRU Performance Director Ryan Jones said: “It’s an extremely regrettable situation we find ourselves in, and one that is being felt across the world inside and outside the context of sport.
“I’ve seen first-hand how much the Sevens players and staff have put their heart and soul into the programme, which has made reaching this outcome all the more difficult.
“Unfortunately, while we have seen the return of regional rugby in its current restricted form, it’s unlikely the sevens programme would be preparing for any top-level competition until at least April of next year.
"The realities of a reduced funding situation have made this impossible for us to sustain.”
After a difficult start to their 2019-20 World Rugby Sevens Series campaign, Wales’ men were placed in last position when the season came to a premature end in March.
In the past, the programme has played a key role in developing the likes of Justin Tipuric, Rhys Webb and Alex Cuthbert, while Wales won the Sevens World Cup in 2009.
Jones confirmed the WRU is exploring opportunities surrounding the Great Britain Sevens teams in the run-up to next year’s World Rugby Sevens Series, with the rescheduled Olympic Games in Tokyo on the horizon.
“We are committed to competing in world-class competition and continuing player development is an absolute priority for the WRU, so we will be fully supporting our athletes with their Olympic aspirations,” said the former Wales skipper.
“Having no Sevens programme would be a loss to the national game, and as such I don’t view this announcement as the end of rugby Sevens for the Welsh Rugby Union in the long term.”