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Welsh rugby regions hope to avert fresh crisis

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 15, 2013

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THE Welsh regions are willing to do all they can to save the body that was set up to secure the future of the professional game in Wales.

The Professional Regional Game Board (PRGB) was flagged up as heralding a new dawn for top-level rugby in Wales when it was launched barely three months ago.

But after just one meeting the body that was supposed to stop the elite game failing in these parts is in grave danger of failing itself amid a dispute over its exact terms of reference.

The Evening Post understands the regions and the union have been at odds over the old issues of control and cash, plus wider matters over the health of the game in Wales, and the body has yet to be formally signed up for.

The regions have become frustrated by the lack of progress and are thought to be deeply concerned about the PRGB’s future, but are still anxious to make it work.

However, there are no guarantees that it will survive.

The new body was set up in December, comprising four members of the Welsh Rugby Union and one from each of the four regions, with an independent chair.

There were eight general objectives amid concern over how to keep leading players in Wales, how to deal with the increasing threat of football, how to stave off approaches to junior players in Wales from clubs in England and what to do about the Principality Premiership.

All those problems remain — but the body that was supposed to be tackling them has yet to properly get itself in gear.

If the PRGB does come to nothing the episode will be seen as a debacle and a deep embarrassment.

“The formation of the Professional Regional Game Board is a landmark moment in the history of Welsh rugby,” said union group chief executive Roger Lewis when it was launched.

“By working together, we will create a unity of purpose for Welsh professional rugby which will be underpinned by collective management, enhanced with greater central resources and structured to ensure effective decision making.

“The PRGB will play a significant role in helping regional rugby make real progress, both on and off the field, in the years ahead.”

In a fresh statement the WRU said: “The establishment of the Professional Regional Game Board was announced just nine weeks ago following discussions between the WRU and all four regional organisations. Mr Justice Wyn Williams has been chosen to chair the PRGB.”

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