Former Welsh coach Mike Roddock says it would be a “big mistake” to cut one of Wales ’four regions.
Earlier this week, proposals from Oakwell’s report, which recommended reducing the number of professional teams from four to three, appeared ahead of a meeting of the Professional Rugby Council next week. These proposals could lead to a reduction in Ospreys or Dragons, or a merger of Scarlets and Ospreys that failed in 2019. You can read details of the plan are here.
The Welsh and WRU regions have since moved on to reassure supporters that they will secure a proper future for the game in a joint statement. You can read this statement here.
However, before this statement, the proposals met with an unfriendly reaction. And Ruddock, who led Wales to the 2005 Grand Slam and now works as director of development at Ospreys, was the last to question the point of reducing four teams to three. He expressed his feelings very clearly behind the scenes.
The line, which he coached in Ireland for several years, also pointed to the example of Connacht, who was nearly laid off in 2003. However, after the protests secured their future, they won the PRO12 and became a strong point in themselves made up of Irish internationalists.
Talk to former Irish props Reggie Corrigan Dublin Talking Sport on Sunshine 106.9he said: “This is one of the six recommendations I know of that have been set out in a report commissioned by a professional gaming board.
“The recommendation to get rid of the region was just one of six possible recommendations or options. Reg, you and I remember when we worked in Ireland and the IRFU thought to get rid of Connacht and the whole province took to the streets and walked to Lansdow Road and gave a clear understand that this is a bad idea.
“Connacht under Pat Lama won the URC and looked at all the different players they trained for Irish rugby and those exiles they attracted like McHansen. It’s still a numbers game, so getting rid of one of our regions would be a big mistake. I’m trying to promote on Welsh channels the idea that it’s a numbers game, and the Irish model has proven it.
“Back in 1997 we lost a lot of players to England, Conor O’Shea, Malcolm O’Kelly, Eric Miller, such guys went to England and we started bringing back some of these guys, started getting our academies working and working in Ireland. .. and it was a game with numbers and off the field.
“These are the lessons we are trying to convey. We need to keep the numbers in Wales, we need to be honest with ourselves, which is what we are doing, and what we need to do is look closely at these recommendations, come out the other side stronger. I personally believe that the loss of the region and the numbers is the wrong way. “