Ospreys chairman Rob Davies has created quite a discussion this past week by saying that there will be a British and Irish League in place come 2022.
This is a topic that has been discussed for years and flares up from time to time with advocates on either side of the debate.
The Welsh regions have often been the most staunchly in favour of such a league, while English sides have been the strongest opponents. Since Davies’ comments last Friday, this debate has ignited once again.
While the Welsh regions struggle financially and would benefit hugely from the investment that would come with this new league, Davies’ comments have been dismissed by many as a deflection tactic.
The chairman endured a tough time last week, as the Ospreys were grilled for being rather vague regarding their head coach Allen Clarke.
Although I believe a British and Irish league is likely, I wonder if it was raised by Rob Davies in order to deflect from the Allen Clarke issue
— SuperChin ? (@Slimfrog1) November 29, 2019
It’s just cruel to casually drop this in to a press conference as a tactic to deflect attention away from his own huge ineptitude….HOWEVER, that won’t stop me convincing myself it’s happening & that the regions will become sustainable European superpowers ?
— STP_Head (@head_stp) November 30, 2019
Davies has since revealed that Clarke remains an employee at the Liberty Stadium but no longer has a coaching role – and will remain employed until the legal situation at the region is resolved.
He doesn’t know if he has got a coach at the moment, I’d take anything he says with a pinch of salt…
— Ian Alexander ??????? (@ianalex86) November 29, 2019
Attempted cover to distract from his car crash interview earlier this week ?
— Henry Johnston (@henryj17) December 1, 2019
Has he said that to create a distraction to what’s happening at the ospreys ?
It’s a strange time to talk about something like that considering what’s happening at his club ? pic.twitter.com/T8fUw7II0s
— Paul (@tumblescarlet67) November 29, 2019
The management of the region had already come under fire prior to the coaching debacle, so nothing has not helped their cause in the past week. Therefore, talk about a British and Irish League would be the perfect way for Davies to skirt around any criticism he may face.
Almost as if he's saying it to divert some of the flak…call me cynical
— Chris Ekral (@EkralP) December 1, 2019
Or is it a 'Dead Cat' thrown onto the table to deflect?
— Nik Thomas (@NikThomas01) November 29, 2019
Whether this was a case of deflection or not, it does not mean that Davies was not telling the truth, although the timing means some have said that his comments need to be taken with a pinch of salt.
What it has undoubtedly done is start this discussion again, particularly regarding the practicalities of such a league, the future of the Champions Cup, and what will happen to the Italian and South African teams that are currently in the PRO14.
While this would be one of the defining changes made to northern hemisphere rugby in the professional era, many are not getting ahead of themselves yet.
WATCH: Rugby Australia have reached a settlement in the legal battle with Israel Folau
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now