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The Welsh Regions Joining the Premiership?

j'nuh

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Was going to put this in the Premiership section, but I think the ramifications are a little further reaching than just the Premiership.

ESPN are saying that the Welsh regions will "reportedly" turn their backs on the WRU and the participation agreement, in order to join the Aviva Premiership:
http://www.espn.co.uk/wales/rugby/story/209805.html

There's to be a clause whereby only one Welsh team can be relegated at any one point. I think that this goes a fair way to addressing concerns that the Welsh regions may languish in the Championship somewhere down the line. I think it's a decent compromise.

The more time that goes by, the more realistic this seems as an eventuality. Can't wait. :)
 

dullonien

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Not a fan of this happening.

1. Whilst there is reportedly a deal lasting 5 years between the regions and the PRL, what happens after that is anyone's guess. What if the Welsh regions aren't needed any more, and are jettisoned? After all, the Welsh regions will likely have no control of the league in which they are playing, and for me that's very risky.

2. What happens to the Irish, Scottish and Italian sides? Whilst the Welsh regions may well be better off, with more money coming in from a strong league, to just leave our brethren in the lurch is pure selfishness, and one which will damage European rugby as a whole.

Now if this proposal was for a merger of the Premiership and Pro12, with all teams participating (or most at the least), I'd be all for it. Whilst it would somewhat devalue the EuroCup if/when it returns, it would still probably be worth it.

Edit. Reports coming in that each Welsh region have been offered £4m to join the Premiership. That would be an extra £12.5m into Welsh rugby (£16m minus the £3.5m they receive from the current tv deal of the Pro12). However, it's important to remember that any HC money will also be missing, so that figure could come down drastically.

It would be interesting to see what the WRU would do with the £6.6m they currently give to the regions. They would have to negotiate some sort of release with the regions or the PRL, but there'd surely be money left over. Setting up new regions as they have threatened could be an option, although who would play for them is unclear. Alternatively they could pump money into the Principality Prem to better underpin the regions. Or they could continue to fund the regions, making sure they are as competitive as possible.
 
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snoopy snoopy dog dog

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The WRU response will be interesting. Could they take a hard line stance and refuse to pick players from the rebel regions for international duty? Will they create new regions under their control? Will they bar referees from officiating?

Someone from NZ, SA or Australia could probably answer this best; how close is this to the war waged by Kerry Packer and Rupert Murdoch for control of Union (World Rugby Corporation v the Unions) and League (Super League v the Australian Rugby League) in the mid 90s?

I understand the Welsh regions stance in wanting to join the Premiership even though it's harmful to European rugby as a whole.
 

ratsapprentice

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Still not sure how they're going to deal with relegation?

Where would the Welsh teams go if they were relegated?
The English championship is run by the RFU - why would they want to support a Welsh team?
And I'm assuming the Welsh Championship is run by the WRU?
 

Da Grappla

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For an improvement of european rugby club/region competitions

- British league
- French, Belgian and Italian league
- Portuguese and spanish league.

These mergins would make sense; geography and culture. And money...rivalry between french and italian sides or between british (british in the geographical sense, goes for Ireland too) teams are good triggers to atract bigger crowds.


Connacht vs Treviso...BAAAAAD
Ulster vs Edimburgh...BAAAAD


Treviso vs Stade Français...GOOD
Glasgow/Leinster/Ospreys vs either London side...GOOD
 

Largejanner

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The PRL and the RFU need to stay out of this spat completely, I see nothing but trouble in the future if they don`t. Whilst I sympathise with the rather 'amateur days' view that we all have a vested interest in the long term future of European rugby as a whole, the fact is you cannot in this still relatively new world of professional rugby have competitions rigged to give financially unviable clubs/regions an unfair advantage. The 'market' must decide which clubs/regions/countries are successful in the professional world, do otherwise and we see the current Heineken Cup debacle. Welsh regional involvement in a proper club competition based in England might sound attractive, but sooner or later as with the HC someone will cry foul and say that a Welsh region being bunged £4m a year and prolonging Welsh dominance at 6N level as well as being excused relegation in certain circumstances might be a tad unfair.
Best we stay out of it!
 
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smartcooky

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Someone from NZ, SA or Australia could probably answer this best; how close is this to the war waged by Kerry Packer and Rupert Murdoch for control of Union (World Rugby Corporation v the Unions) and League (Super League v the Australian Rugby League) in the mid 90s?

You could cast the PRL in the role of Kerry Packer. The "its all about the money, power and control" attitudes are remarkably similar. The Unions, of course, will play themselves, but I don't know where the Regions would come in.

Of course, we had a simple answer to Packer's rugby circus, and that was for the Unions to contract the players. The Rugby War was, in hindsight, the best thing that could have happened to us. It forced the NZRU, ARU and SARFU to confront the issue of professional rugby, and it made them realise that it was the players that were the all important key to winning it; get them and you get the whole game. The Unions realised what would happen if private individuals got to hold the contracts on the players; precisely what we see in Europe, constant bickering, back-stabbing and legal issues between Unions and Clubs over the use of players, and the erosion of the importance of the international game in favour of ego-boosting for individual owners. The RFU, FFR and the other European National Unions all decided to save themselves some cash and leave Professional rugby to private individuals. I'll bet they have regretted that short-sighted decision ever since!

Thank God for Jock Hobbs.
 
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St George

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You could cast the PRL in the role of Kerry Packer. The "its all about the money, power and control" attitudes are remarkably similar. The Unions, of course, will play themselves, but I don't know where the Regions would come in.

I fail to see how you can differentiate between the PRL and RRW or even the LNR when it comes to what is happening to Rugby in the NH. When you hear the RRW making statements about lack of funds for their teams, and saying that they want more say in which comps they have to play in, and asking for public enquiries into the financing of clubs via TV revenues etc, then surely that also falls into the "its all about the money, power and control" attitude you allude to?

The way i see it, 79% of the 6N domestic teams are unhappy with the status quo and wish to see a change. That they are not being listened to is the act of dictatorships.

Your anti-English Rugby is coming out again old boy.... :p
 

ratsapprentice

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The way i see it, 79% of the 6N domestic teams are unhappy with the status quo and wish to see a change. That they are not being listened to is the act of dictatorships.

To be fair RRW are unhappy because they have been unable to grow their fanbase enough to support themselves.

This is either down to their inept marketing or an inherrent problem with the regions ability to garner support.
I don't see how moving to the premiership is really going to change that, any success they have in response to the move will be on the Premiership club's coattails.

It seems to me that the WRU are trying to "pet them down" as it were, in order to implement a domestic system which is actually sustainable.
They seem to have a very effective marketing team and the ability to centrally contract players and, crucially, are in a position to create new clubs which have intrinsic local support.
 
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St George

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IMO, and with the very little knowledge i have of Welsh rugby, the whole transfer from amateur to professionalism was handled badly and failed to take the original fanbase with it. To fragment the representation of the Welsh even more, domestically and in major Eurocomps, would be doomed to failure.

As for the RRW joining the Aviva....i noticed this quote of an IRB Reg which seems to prohibit that from happening unless they relocate to England and become members under the RFU:

"A Club or Rugby Body may only be affiliated to one Union and shall be
subject to the jurisdiction of the bye-laws, rules and regulations of that
Union. A Club or Rugby Body may only be affiliated to the Union within
whose geographical boundaries its Home Ground is situated and shall
only be entitled to play in Matches organised, recognised or sanctioned by
that Union, unless specific approval has been given by both Unions. No
Club or Rugby Body shall be entitled to change the location of its Home
Ground or the name by which its senior teams are known, without the
prior written consent of the Union to which it is affiliated."







With this scenario, i cannot see the RFU agreeing unless the players involved are developed with England in mind via the Elite Player incentive scheme.
 
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ratsapprentice

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Well the RFU also has to consider how much this is going to **** off every single PRO12 Union.
It seriously undermines their domestic competition and it directly undermines the WRU.

That's my point though, George... no-one in Wales really gives a **** about the regions.
They are inherrently unworkable, and a domestic competition involving the traditional clubs would naturally be far more attractive to the Welsh rugby community.
I admit to not being an expert though - but that does seem to be the general consensus.
 

St George

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Again, i think we are singing from the same hymn sheet....but just in differing tones. :D
 

Tallshort

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The plight of the Welsh regions is a lesson to anyone thinking regionalism can work in England.
 

snoopy snoopy dog dog

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The plight of the Welsh regions is a lesson to anyone thinking regionalism can work in England.
On a slight tangent, does anybody know when the regions stopped playing in England? I vaguely recall a strong North team at one point in the 80s/early 90s.
 

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On a slight tangent, does anybody know when the regions stopped playing in England? I vaguely recall a strong North team at one point in the 80s/early 90s.

Martin Johnson played for East Midlands in 1990 so at least that long.

The Welsh regions are a good example of how not to do it and the perils involved but they're not proof it doesn't work. If the RFU had backed it way back when, I don't think it would have gone the same way.
 
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ratsapprentice

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The plight of the Welsh regions is a lesson to anyone thinking regionalism can work in England.

Or a lesson in why not to dissolve clubs thus pitting their fan's loyalties against your new regions.
 

Tallshort

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Martin Johnson played for East Midlands in 1990 so at least that long.

The Welsh regions are a good example of how not to do it and the perils involved but they're not proof it doesn't work. If the RFU had backed it way back when, I don't think it would have gone the same way.

No he played for the Midlands, I watched them play the all blacks many moons ago at welford road. They would also play in Coventry and other rugby grounds around the Midlands. They stopped when the game went pro and the clubs got better organised. Agree with Pete to a certain extent, had the RFU not fought professionalism so much and got organised those regions could have been the basis for the domestic league but that didnt happen and I not sure it would have worked in the long run.
 

psychic duck

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Well the RFU also has to consider how much this is going to **** off every single PRO12 Union.
It seriously undermines their domestic competition and it directly undermines the WRU.

That's my point though, George... no-one in Wales really gives a **** about the regions.
They are inherrently unworkable, and a domestic competition involving the traditional clubs would naturally be far more attractive to the Welsh rugby community.
I admit to not being an expert though - but that does seem to be the general consensus.

You've misunderstood the Welsh situation ratsapprentice. Plenty of people do care about the regions, it's just a very vocal Pontypridd and other villagists who get disproportionate press who distort the narrative and still upset that they wrecked their Celtic Warriors pro team. The traditional clubs in the professional age were **** by the way, just see their results in Europe in their last season it was embarrassing, people have seemed to have forgotten that they were unworkable, poorly attended, struggling financially and largely uncompetitive in their last days. Nowadays it would be far worse with the amount of players leaving as well.

The problem is the Welsh rugby public is frankly a bit stupid. Especially the Western Mail reading front. Likelihood is that some villagists will complain whatever happens and what was a mistake in regionalism was bothering to try and appease them in the first place. Scarlets vs Ospreys last weekend was a great occasion and many will be sad to lose it, the derby games are great occasions it's just most of the rest of the Pro12 as a league that so few care about.

You've also misunderstood the WRU's intentions as well. The essentially want the Welsh system to be like the Scottish one but based outside the population centres instead and are killing the regions by starving them to get this. If the WRU get their way it will kill the Welsh domestic game as a competitive entity probably for good. The Welsh domestic side would be as competitive as Edinburgh are now or Borders used to be, apart from getting 2,000 crowds in North Wales or Pontypridd. Far fewer will care about the uncompetitive non entities the WRU are planning than the regions.
 

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No he played for the Midlands, I watched them play the all blacks many moons ago at welford road. They would also play in Coventry and other rugby grounds around the Midlands. They stopped when the game went pro and the clubs got better organised. Agree with Pete to a certain extent, had the RFU not fought professionalism so much and got organised those regions could have been the basis for the domestic league but that didnt happen and I not sure it would have worked in the long run.

Mea Culpa - I thought Midlands played separately as West and East? I know you can find references to them as separate entities.
 

ratsapprentice

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Ok, Duck.

So basically people in Wales don't give a **** about rugby when it's Welsh domestic vs foreign domestic?
I'm not really talking about the rugby side of things so much as the financial viability and marketability of the clubs/regions.

Is it not true that the clubs used to be very well attended compared to the regions?
 

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