Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.Timing as they say is key. For the Welsh Rugby Union to announce proposed changes to the regional rugby structure is bad enough. To announce them just before an important six nations match is even worse, some Welsh fans might argue treasonable.
But here I am, chatting about it again. Why? Well the details have come out. The Ospreys are set to merge not with the Cardiff Blues but with the Scarlets. Possibly even from next season. It’s described as a merger. But until I’m proved otherwise it’s really hard not to judge it as a Scarlet takeover. There are many people at this moment, not just the players but the office staff etc as well who are wondering for their future and that of their families.
The proposal has already caused the current chairman of the Ospreys to quit and his successor to imply he’s looking into legal action over the decision.
Those birds are fighting this folks.
I read on the BBC Sports website someone on the WRU stating that “bold decisions need to be taken”. Well the charge of Light Brigade was a bold decision. Doesn’t make it the right one though
So Welsh club rugby is now in a greater mess than it was a week back. I won’t go through the reasons again why choosing the Ospreys to be the sacrificial club is a bad in itself. Except perhaps one. Why is a successful team being sacrificed for the creation of a regional side in the non-traditional rugby area that is North Wales?
The biggest argument supporters of regional rugby use is that it helps the national team. And it’s certainly true that there has been an improvement (although I’d argue that the sacrifice to the club game has been too far – but that’s for another day).
But even supporters of regional rugby have acknowledged to me that at least for the short term this argument doesn’t really apply to the proposed North Wales team. A new team in an area not known for it’s rugby. Even if successful it will take time to grow. At time of writing there appears to be no obvious evidence that it will be a success. Especially when looking at the current Welsh Regional teams and their sparse crowds.
Also North Wales did not save the Celtic Crusaders when it moved up from the South to play rugby league.
The Welsh mathematical formula I drew up before? “The success of the national side is in direct proportion to the mess in the club game”
Well Wales are really going to win the rugby World Cup now.
And you know what the really stunning thing is? The Welsh Rugby Union destroy the traditions of Welsh club rugby. Obviously not successful otherwise “Project Reset” wouldn’t have happened. They want to create a new club in a non traditional rugby area and they want public money to help them do it…what?
In an age of foodbanks and rising despair to give the WRU public finance in this would be a disgrace. There is as much logic for public money being involved as there was for the proposed Grand Prix track in Ebbw Vale.
At the very least then a creation of a North Walian club is a gamble. At worse a disaster that will affect the club structure for decades to come. I’m not actually saying that doing it is wrong. Just that the Ospreys are not the club that should be sacrified for it and that the business case for it’s creation has not been made.
What regional rugby did for Wales was this. For many people going to a club rugby game was the option on a Saturday. Now it’s become an option.
And if these proposals come into effect. People might not consider it at all.
Until the next time.