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Tom Shanklin proposes radical shake-up for Welsh rugby

By Josh Raisey
Tom Rogers of Scarlets looks dejected after defeat to Black Lion during the EPCR Challenge Cup match between Scarlets and Black Lion at Parc y Scarlets on December 15, 2023 in Llanelli, Wales. (Photo by Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images)

After a weekend of United Rugby Championship rugby where all four Welsh regions lost, former Wales centre Tom Shanklin is not overly enthused about the future of the clubs.

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With three of the regions sitting in the bottom four of the league and the highest-ranked Ospreys only in eleventh (albeit with significantly more points), the 70-cap Welshman recently described this season as a “disaster” for the struggling trio and how they “just want the season to end” on the URC Unloaded podcast.

When looking at recent results, he admitted that “we’re not as good as who we are playing against,” adding “there was no realistic way” the Ospreys were going to beat Leinster, who triumphed 61-14 at home in Dublin.

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But with an exodus of players from Wales at the end of the season, alongside reducing the salary cap from £5.2m to £4.5m next campaign, Shanklin fears things are only going to get worse.

He does have a potential solution though, which is reducing the number of regions in the URC to two.

Match Summary

0
Penalty Goals
0
9
Tries
2
8
Conversions
1
0
Drop Goals
0
141
Carries
94
12
Line Breaks
2
10
Turnovers Lost
17
3
Turnovers Won
4

This would not only be financially beneficial, but he believes condensing Wales’ best players into two teams will make them more competitive in the league.

“The worst thing is,” he said “It’s going to get worse next year. It is. Because we’re losing more players, there’s less of a budget. Until the strategy from the WRU comes out and explains where Welsh rugby is going, what we’re doing.

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“We can’t afford four teams, yet all four teams are shareholders, so no one’s forfeiting their team.

“We’ve got this new league set up called the EDC in Wales, which is sort of a development league, 10 teams are in there.

“I think we’d be better off with two teams in the URC and two teams in this EDC because four teams just isn’t working in Wales at the moment.

“In order for Wales to be more competitive, the talent has to be condensed into two teams.

“I think it would be far better. Then you would have two teams in the EDC, so there are other options.”

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Comments

2 Comments
T
Turlough 32 days ago

He is right. How do you pick the two? Ospreys and Cardiff?

K
Kenward K. 36 days ago

‘radical’

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