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hoppy View Drop Down
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    Posted: 04 May 2022 at 7:00pm
From behind the Times firewall


Welsh plan to cut professional teams from four to three


Steffan Thomas

Wednesday May 04 2022, 6.00pm, The Times

The Welsh Rugby Union have put forward proposals to cut the number of professional sides in Wales from four to three in two years’ time.

Cardiff, Dragons, Ospreys, and Scarlets have struggled for success over several years with crowd numbers dwindling in Wales. All four sides have posted significant losses, which have been exacerbated by the Covid pandemic, while they have been saddled with a collective £20 million bank loan that will have to be paid back over 20 years.

The options on the table — all of which are likely to meet significant opposition — are axing either the Ospreys or Dragons, or an Ospreys and Scarlets merger.

The WRU recommendations come following a report from consultants Oakwell Sports Advisory and will be put to the Professional Rugby Board — the body that runs the professional game in Wales — at their next meeting on May 11.

WRU chief executive Steve Phillips will put forward a long-term funding model based on supporting three teams. At present the professional sides receive £23.5 million between them which is set to be cut to £18 million in the 2023-24 season.

With the Irish Rugby Union spending between €50-60 million on its professional game, and the Scottish Rugby Union investing £20 million into both Edinburgh and Glasgow, the Welsh sides are set to fall further behind their rivals in Europe, and the United Rugby Championship.

Meetings have been taking place with the WRU, and newly appointed PRB chairman Malcolm Wall over the future direction of professional rugby in Wales.

The proposals are creating a toxic environment within Welsh rugby with each professional side reluctant to fall on its sword, but there is an acceptance across the board that things have to change following a Six Nations campaign which resulted in Wales’s men’s team losing to Italy at home for the first time in their history.

It would be the second time in the chequered 20-year history of regional rugby a team will have been axed. Former chief executive David Moffett carved nine teams into five in 2003 before moving down to four a year later. A proposed merger between Ospreys and Scarlets two years ago ran into ferocious opposition and was ultimately shelved.

Ospreys are majority owned by British Virgin Islands based company Y-11, but as with the other three regions, it is understood they would cease to operate without WRU funding.

There is also set to be a change in how Wales’ professional players are paid. Presently, the WRU pay 80 per cent of the salaries of the top 38 players in Wales with their regions taking on 20 per cent of the wage. The Oakwell report has suggested creating a new agreement which would entail creating a Welsh Elite Player squad, similar to the model undertaken with the Rugby Football Union’s EPS, with the WRU paying its professional sides for the services of their players.

“Welsh rugby is heading into the abyss,” said a high-ranking Welsh rugby figure who did not want to be named. “The game in this country is at a crossroads following what has been a terrible Six Nations campaign. For too long Warren Gatland papered over the cracks in the overall game in Wales with success at Test level, but the rot has finally spread to the national side which is the only reason the WRU are planning to do something drastic.

“There’s enough money in the game in Wales to have four competitive professional sides but the WRU’s answer is not to invest in the game but to build a hotel and potentially cut a region.”
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RR1972 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RR1972 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2022 at 7:19pm
Our test team is struggling so let’s cull a region, great logic wruAngryAngry
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fscarlet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2022 at 7:26pm
The reason the EPS works is that the players are spread over lots of teams. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RR1972 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2022 at 7:35pm
The regions paying the price for wales appointing a rubbish head coachLOLLOLLOL, they on about cutting funding according to that. The three teams left will get the same money as they do now??

Edited by RR1972 - 04 May 2022 at 7:37pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dyniol53 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2022 at 8:21pm
Let’s be honest no one would care or should complain if the dragons disband. 

But that the justification for culling a region is because the test team had a bad 6N is so dumb. This has been a problem for years, and it’s a problem of the WRUs own making by neglecting professional game and always choosing short term revenue over long term investment. 

Delighted to hear the Scarsprays AKA the West Wales Eagles are back on the table
https://twitter.com/exile_podcast?lang=en
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SA14 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2022 at 8:41pm
Scarspreys it is then……
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ladram Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2022 at 10:18pm
It's about time the spineless regions stood up to the wru.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dic Penderyn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2022 at 10:39pm
Farmland bought up by multi-nationals who plant conifers everywhere,second homes and summer houses pricing out the locals and beating back the language,and the national sport butchered while they build hotels -14 quid for a bloody mary anyone?-Llanelli will be a rugby suburb of Swansea-best of luck with that,but not for me.There won't be much left to sell here before long,but history will see it all for what it is-a bunch of spivs looking after themselves.Rotten.

Edited by Dic Penderyn - 04 May 2022 at 10:40pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GPR - Rochester Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2022 at 7:18am
Originally posted by Dic Penderyn Dic Penderyn wrote:

Farmland bought up by multi-nationals who plant conifers everywhere,second homes and summer houses pricing out the locals and beating back the language,and the national sport butchered while they build hotels -14 quid for a bloody mary anyone?-Llanelli will be a rugby suburb of Swansea-best of luck with that,but not for me.There won't be much left to sell here before long,but history will see it all for what it is-a bunch of spivs looking after themselves.Rotten.

Spot on Dic - I knew if we waited long enough we'd agree on somethingWink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RR1972 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2022 at 7:28am
Where did all that ccv cash go? Also if we go to three teams we lose 3 home games and the ospreys is the biggest money generator of the season for us. Unless the wru split the  current full funding between the remaining 3 regions we will be worse off! Ps stef on radio wales right now

Edited by RR1972 - 05 May 2022 at 7:35am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GPR - Rochester Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2022 at 7:34am
It really didn't need spending £25k on a report which comes up with conclusions that most posters on here have been giving for free for many years. As Steff & some others said the decision would not be rugby based. The only team not being mentioned with any disruption is Cardiff who on recent form are the worst. Surely the logical answer if 3 is the magic number would be to merge Cardiff & Dragons., consistently the two worst performing regions. However if that does not translate into significant additional revenues for the remaining clubs what is the point????

Welsh rugby is indeed in crisis but the real crisis is that bean counter Phillips and head teacher Butcher who couldn't run a corner shop let alone a £100m a year business. What a bloody messAngry
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RR1972 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2022 at 7:36am
Cardiff are the sacred cow of welsh rugby immune from any issues and allowed to carry on regardless

Edited by RR1972 - 05 May 2022 at 7:36am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dic Penderyn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2022 at 8:16am
The buffoons running the Union have paid a bunch of  pan-handling English parasites to come up with a back-of-a-fag packet plan to asset strip our heritage.Oakwell Sports ffs.
Welsh rugby is a laughing stock today,wherever the game is played.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jones2004 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2022 at 9:05am
Don’t think I’ve ever agreed more with a paragraph in an article.
 
“There’s enough money in the game in Wales to have four competitive professional sides but the WRU’s answer is not to invest in the game but to build a hotel and potentially cut a region.”
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