Welsh clubs look for Premiership future claims Wray
December 1, 2013
Nigel Wray - 'Bring in the Welsh, go to 16 teams and play 30 games plus the play-offs' © Getty Images
Saracens boss Nigel Wray claims the Welsh regions want to join the English Premiership to secure their long-term future.
The four regions - Cardiff Blues, Newport Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets - have been at loggerheads with the WRU for some time and Wray has told the Rugby Paper that they are looking east for their best hope.
"They'd love to play in the Aviva Premiership and we'd love it too," Wray said. "English and Welsh rugby has an enormous history, a rich culture of big club matches. What could be better than the restoration of the traditional fixtures, guaranteeing massive matches of real importance?
"We play each other anyway in the LV=Cup so why not make the fixtures really meaningful? An enlarged Aviva Premiership can be created with no extra fixtures to be squeezed into the calendar. It would be good for the WRU because it would provide their teams with tougher competition.
"There are fantastic old rivalries there and games would sell-out. Games like Leicester v Cardiff and Scarlets v Northampton would have real bite and meaning, which would appeal to the customers who often get forgotten in all of this.
"Bring in the Welsh, go to 16 teams and play 30 games plus the play-offs. You'd have to agree on promotion and relegation but that's not too difficult, so let's move forward and give our customers meaningful games."
The four regions have been given until the end of December to agree a new deal with the WRU. If they do not then they face an uncertain future, all the more so with this week's Heineken Cup news.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker