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McGeechan wades in on potential axeing of Welsh region

By Ian Cameron
Ian McGeechan with Warren Gatland as his assistant in 2009 (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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Sir Ian McGeechan has waded in on the speculation that one of Wales’ four regional sides to be binned next season.

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The axeing of one of the regions is among several proposals included in a report commissioned by the Professional Rugby Board (PRB) to look at how best to move the game forward.

Also reportedly being suggested is a merger between the Scarlets and the Ospreys, although the Swansea-based team havv said they’d oppose such a move.

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Writing in his Telegraph column, McGeechan says he’s against cutting one of the regions and instead believes that the academies should be streamlined.

“A three-, five- or even 10-year strategic plan for Welsh rugby is now urgently needed,” he said. “It should be root and branch, starting with the schools and amateur clubs, and how they feed into the semi-pro and professional set-up.

“I just don’t believe there is less talent in Welsh rugby than in previous generations, but much more effort needs to be taken to nurture it and give it direction. There are currently four academies – why not look at two, which should play the Irish and English academies on a regular basis. Young players should also be brought up through the semi-professional clubs to ensure late developers are not missed. As ever, all young players need to play more regularly.”

“More generally, the professional regions need to be prioritised as the best route to achieving a successful national side. That, for instance, means the amateur clubs no longer having any say in the way professional rugby is run (at the moment if 10 per cent of Welsh clubs call for an EGM, they can overturn any WRU decision). But most of all, the four regions need to be maintained. As the song says, you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”

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