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Scarlets and Ospreys merger proving unpopular

A PROPOSED merger between the Scarlets and Ospreys Rugby teams has caused anger amongst many fans.

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) is currently looking at ways to ‘reset’ the regional game in Wales and one of its proposals would see two of the most successful Welsh regions come together to make way for a North Wales team to be introduced. 

However, this has come in for strong criticism from many in the game with some saying it could alienate the fans. 

Indeed, what would a new South West Wales team look like? Who would play for it? What ground would they play at?

A combination of over 14,000 fans attended the two most recent home games of the two regions, but could they really just change like that to support the new team?

The WRU seem keen to introduce the new North Wales team for the start of next season which doesn’t leave them much time to answer all of these questions and more. 

For some it has been too much, Ospreys chairman Mike James resigned on Tuesday morning (Mar 5) citing the WRU’s ‘catastrophic mismanagement’ of efforts to overhaul the game.

In a statement he adds that the WRU’s ‘project reset’ had turned to ‘project inept’.

The Welsh Rugby Players association (WRPA) has also expressed its deep concerns on the plans and had called on the WRU to protect Welsh players.

Mr James’ resignation came at the start of a meeting of the Professional Rugby Board (PRB) which expected to make a comprehensive proposal. 

Following lengthy discussions, the PRB released a statement in which they say that the comments from Mr James do not reconcile with discussions held prior to the meeting and say they are

‘united’ in its pursuit of what is best for rugby in Wales.

Ospreys have since backed the comments of its outgoing chairman and have gone on to say that they are ‘not’ on the verge of merging with the Scarlets.

The Scarlets have been approached for its views on the situation. 

Only time will tell what will happen but it is already clear that the WRU are going to be met with a lot of opposition to its plans.