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'Never yield to force': Turmoil in Wales over latest bombshell plan

By Kim Ekin
The Dragons are without a win since October and tough questions will need to be asked about the regional structure (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The WRU have issued a statement after it emerged on Wednesday night that a bombshell recommendation in the Oakwell Sports Advisory report it commissioned is the reduction of the number of regional teams from four to three for the start of the 2023/24 season, with Dragons and Ospreys allegedly at the head of the queue for the chop.   


They were the two sides apparently named in the £25,000 report as potentially being under the most threat, reopening the festering wounds of recent years when the merging of the Scarlets with the Ospreys was considered as a way forward to help improve the competitiveness of the Welsh product at URC and European levels. 

Following the latest revelations about the alleged contents of the Oakwell report, the WRU gave a statement to WalesOnline that read: “Oakwell were commissioned by the professional rugby board (PRB) to produce a report exploring the strategic options available to the professional game in Wales. 

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“It contains a number of recommendations which form a part of the current discussions taking place at the PRB. There are other reports informing these discussions and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this juncture.”

The likely unpopular proposals are apparently due to be discussed with the regions next week by WRU chief Steve Phillips, but Dragons chairman David Buttress has already made his feelings known on Twitter.


The WRU-owned Dragons have endured another deflating season, winning just two of their 15 URC games and failing to reach the last 16 of the European Challenge Cup following defeat in all four pool matches. 


“Worrying is a rubbish waste of time, fighting, believing, building, backing ourselves and sticking together is what I will spend my energy on. We have a long way to go together yet,” he tweeted. 

Winston said it well: ‘Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force’.”


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