Regions not abandoning WRU
April 7, 2013
The Ospreys won the RaboDirect PRO12 in 2012 © PA Photos
The four Welsh regions have said that they have no intention of breaking away and forming an Anglo-Welsh league, despite their admission that they have held talks with their English counterparts.
The regions - the Cardiff Blues, Newport-Gwent Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets - have grown exasperated by the Welsh Rugby Union's refusal to use the Professional Regional Rugby Game Board to address the problems they are facing. Instead the WRU invited the quartet to a meeting at the end of the month, where central contracts for Welsh players will be top of the agenda.
"No one is talking about breaking away from the WRU," Ospreys' chief operations manager Andrew Hore told The Observer. "It is neither desirable nor practical. What we want is for the game board to start meeting and finding ways of making the regional game thrive, not just survive. We want to work with the WRU.
"It is incredibly frustrating to have gone through a long process to set up the game board only for it to be stalled because the WRU is not happy at having an independent chairman with a casting vote, never mind that he is a judge who is involved in the community game."
With a salary cap of £3.5million the regions are struggling to attract leading players and at the same time see their top players leave for bigger wages at French clubs. As such it has led the regions to start looking for new revenue streams to help develop Welsh rugby at all levels.
"Regional rugby has worked, as Wales's three grand slams and this year's Six Nations title have shown in the decade we have been going, but we are being marginalised by the WRU," Hore added. "We want the autonomy to grow the game in our regions, but the union wants to absorb power and, it seems, drive us into the ground.
"Ospreys spend £700,000 each year on the development of the game in our region and this issue is not just about having the means to keep leading international players in Wales, but investing in every level of the game, on players, coaches and referees, so that we grow long roots. Surely the aim of everyone should be success for Wales at international and regional level."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin