Sport Rugby

Wednesday 17 January 2018

What price loyalty as Welsh ponder offer to jump ship?

Tony Ward

Tony Ward

It is anything but the season of peace and goodwill at the ERC headquarters in Huguenot House.

In the latest development, each of the Welsh Regions has been offered a staggering £4m a season (by BT) to quit the Pro12, abandoning the Celtic connection to join the English clubs in an extended Anglo-Welsh League.

The big attraction for the regions -- and the WRU -- is the financial clout to stem the flow of Welsh players leaving the Principality.

Significantly, the man responsible for creating the regions in the first place, David Moffett, has rowed in, saying: "I don't see any option other than to break away and make a fresh start in the best interest of Welsh rugby as a whole."

Break away or die a slow death is his fundamental message.

The real worry here has to be the clear indication that the English, French and Welsh unions are openly stating the need to fight their own corner -- making the very word 'union' a bit of a misnomer.

The bottom line is a professional structure close to tatters. Those who think this an administrative blip that will sort itself out, had better think again. We are back on the precipice.

Far from a rising tide lifting all boats, this rising BT tide could be about to sink the Irish, Scots and Italian vessels out of sight.

Hard to believe but the best competition ever to happen to the professional game could in fact be the root of its demise. Talk about the game shooting itself in both feet.

Either way it's looking more and more like the law of the jungle and each one looking after number one.

And all this happening in a game that has long prided itself on honesty and loyalty. What price loyalty now?

Irish Independent

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