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Welsh rugby needs ‘overarching strategy’ says Dragons director

Dean Ryan, director of Dragons Rugby, has called for a new and broad “overarching strategy” to help revive Welsh domestic rugby.

Within 11 European matches, Welsh teams were victorious in none – and this has resulted in a want for change from Welsh bosses.

Dragons Rugby have lost 9 of their 10 competitive matches so far this season, losing three Challenge Cup games.

This somewhat reflects the overall picture of Welsh domestic rugby, which contradicts the huge success of the national team – the current reigning Six Nations champions.

The Dragons boss says the Welsh national team success cannot come at the cost of an impaired domestic game:

“Any time you focus on one part, you’re going to neglect other parts and the game in Wales needs all parts working well.

“As it moves forward, it will need competitive sides to create competitive experiences and stepping stones to international rugby.

“The moment you shine a light on one fifth of an area, you’re neglecting others.

“Wales needs the regions and the regions need Wales. We need to find that overarching strategy that binds us all together.”

Dai Young and Cardiff Rugby

Cardiff Rugby director Dai Young has claimed that Wales’ international success has “papered over the cracks” of domestic rugby.

Cardiff’s Champions Cup run was hugely affected by Covid, which saw 32 players quarantining after a trip to South Africa.

Another 11 players were out with injury.

The team, which consisted of academy prospects, semi professionals and a few internationals lost both European games before also losing to Harlequins.

Director Young said:

“Looking from the outside in because I’ve only been back a year – the regions have struggled for a couple of seasons now, it’s not something that’s just happened this season.”

“It seems to me Wales doing well papers over the cracks a little bit. The only way things will probably change is if Wales don’t do well, which none of us want.

“Things seem to be rolling on exactly the same because we’ve had success with Wales. Everybody understands it’s not an easy or quick fix, but something has to change.

“People are tasked with working out how to change it for the better. I’m sure that’s something being talked about but talking needs to turn into actions.

“I haven’t heard of any action that’s going to be taking place in the medium or long term.”

Dai Young led Cardiff to a Challenge Cup title in 2010 and has recently returned for a second spell after a stint at The Wasps.

Scarlets, Ospreys and European struggle

Both Scarlets and Ospreys finished bottom of their Champions Cup pools, with Scarlets only actually playing two games.

Both games ended in heavy losses, including a 52-10 loss to Bristol and a 45-10 loss to Bordeaux.

Ospreys didn’t manage a single point as they endured three European defeats.

Both teams were also hugely hit by Covid, as players were forced into isolation.

Regarding the defeats, head coach of Scarlets Dwayne Peele said: “It is disappointing and that is not a good enough statistic.”

“We need to understand where we are with the performance side of things. Munster, Leinster and Ulster have been competitive within the competition [Europe] and these are sides we regularly compete with in the URC [United Rugby Championship] or Pro14 over the last couple of years.

“There is a lot of work that needs to be done through the young level moving up. I saw the Bristol bench, there were two All Blacks and English internationals coming off the bench and that’s the reality.

“All I can do is look internally at what we can do. We need to look at everything from bottom up in terms of what we do with our kids, what type of player we want to produce.

“That’s ongoing with us. I’m new to the job so understanding what goes on behind the scenes is important, and the way we want to drive it.

“Retention and recruitment is important as well. Allowing and exposing young players to play is something we’ve talked about.

“We need more exposure for our young players so when we come up to that level, we’re more exposed to it.”

Dwayne Peele joined Scarlets at the start of this 2021-22 season after his time at Ulster.

Toby Booth, head coach of Ospreys: “People have said to me before, if you want to be a successful coach you have to get good players

“They cost a lot of money so if you can’t afford to buy them, you have to make them.

“There is a balance because we have a lot of good players who are injured. We are not making excuses here. We have got what we have got and we have to work with that.

“Strength in depth is without the doubt the difference and we need to bridge that gap. The wage cap is coming down in England, so can they maintain things, who knows?

“Finances often determine the success for the now, whereas a long-term approach and growing your own hopefully alleviates that in the future.”

Booth left Harlequins for Ospreys at the end of the 2019-20 season.