Pro14 2019/2020

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1 week 6 days ago - 1 week 6 days ago #65188 by MulMan
Pro14 2019/2020 was created by MulMan
Talk of Scarlets and Ospreys merging to become one side and a new side being set up in North Wales in Colwyn Bay. This would be a massive change to Welsh rugby, having their two most historically successful sides being merged. This has really come as a shock to me, personally I'd hate to see it happen, as it could take a while for the new side to develop and we could end up with another Aironi, who may eventually fold. This could really test Welsh Regional rugby, and may see them drop away altogether as players move away from Wales altogether. This is major news for the league and is being mooted to happen as soon as next season.

www.the42.ie/scarlets-ospreys-merge-wels...gby-4523998-Mar2019/

Edit: This really puts into perspective how good we have it over here. Forgetting the time that shall not be mentioned, we've enjoyed relative stability in the "club" game since professionalism comapred with our Welsh, Scottish and Italian counterparts. Makes me very glad at the work that's been done by the IRFU. But with things like this and the whole World League thing makes it seem like big changes are on the cards in the near future for pro Rugby.
Last edit: 1 week 6 days ago by MulMan.
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1 week 6 days ago #65189 by ConnachtCows
Replied by ConnachtCows on topic Pro14 2019/2020
My initial thoughts on this, are that it makes very little sense.
Why merge the two best/most successful teams?

But I dont know enough about Welsh rugby. Seems North Wales has a lot of fans, and deserve a team.
And really, that's what should count. You want teams to exist where the fans are, not where the money is.

Anyway, hopefully, this turns out to be a good thing, and it increases fan numbers at the Welsh grounds

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1 week 6 days ago #65190 by Sol_ie
Replied by Sol_ie on topic Pro14 2019/2020
The idea seems to be that the WRU want to move towards an Irish system of predominantly WRU owned provinces. They aren't going to wrap up Dragons as they own them, Cardiff are ok funds wise, and Scarlets and Ospreys seen as being the softer targets to combine (with the WRU taking a share of the new team). The new northern team (also being WRU owned) would come in as 4th welsh team.

I know that a lot of Welsh fans don't have any particular love for the current set up, but I'm unsure if this would actually help. Like Cows, just dont know enough about Welsh rugby on the ground.

Lots of leaks coming out, plenty of whatsapp screengabs etc. Looks like announcement going to be this weekend if it's going ahead.

Another note: what a terrible time to do it. It's not like there's some important international competition that players need to be concentrating on over the next few weeks or anything.

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1 week 6 days ago #65192 by RonanL
Replied by RonanL on topic Pro14 2019/2020
Can't really comment on the situation in Wales because I know feck all about it, but it does highlight how lucky we were to have 4 pre-existing provinces to move forward with when the game went professional. Our setup is the envy of many countries, but I don't think it can be mimicked because you can't just rewrite history. For them, the teams will end up being more like american franchises than Irish provinces IMO, and that is a much tougher sell. Very tricky, and seriously disruptive while it's going on. You can understand why the Ospreys players weren't exactly on top form at the weekend.
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1 week 6 days ago #65193 by pinky
Replied by pinky on topic Pro14 2019/2020
Hands off North Wales, that's Connacht's territory!

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1 week 6 days ago #65194 by Betty Swallocks
Replied by Betty Swallocks on topic Pro14 2019/2020
Let's hope Scarlets are staying focused and tonk Cardiff when they meet in a few week's time!
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1 week 6 days ago #65197 by pinky
Replied by pinky on topic Pro14 2019/2020
Up until now, the talk was that Ospreys would be wound up altogether, but that it wouldn't happen until after next season. But this is starting to sound like it's pretty much agreed. That said we said the same about Le Fusion in Paris.
I suppose if 'twere done, 'tis best 'twere done quickly. No point in having teams starting next season knowing it was their last. Must be hard to take for both sets of fans. Like there's no real difference in terms of getting to games, they're ten miles apart, but that is a serious loss of identity and you'd wonder how readily the allegiances will transfer.

On the plus side, Colwyn Bay would be a great away trip. Only an hour by train from Holyhead so you'd be across in no time.

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"We haven’t liked the wind and rain for about four years now" - John Muldoon 1/1/2015
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1 week 6 days ago #65198 by ConnachtCows
Replied by ConnachtCows on topic Pro14 2019/2020
This is going to ruin my result comparison thread :(

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1 week 6 days ago #65199 by pinky
Replied by pinky on topic Pro14 2019/2020
The Ospreys Chairman has resigned so sounds like it's a done deal alright. Ken Owens seems to have given it a Least Worst Option type of endorsement ...

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"We haven’t liked the wind and rain for about four years now" - John Muldoon 1/1/2015
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1 week 6 days ago #65203 by ThisYearWillBeDifferent
Replied by ThisYearWillBeDifferent on topic Pro14 2019/2020
Ospreys now swearing blind that they never agreed to the merger. Welsh Professional Rugby Board basically calling them liars. Weirder and weirder.

www.the42.ie/ospreys-statement-4525467-Mar2019/

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1 week 6 days ago #65204 by CONN8
Replied by CONN8 on topic Pro14 2019/2020
Can anybody tell me how this is going to affect qualifying for the European champions cup.

What happens if Scarlets finish 3rd and then get disbanded?

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1 week 5 days ago #65208 by salmson
Replied by salmson on topic Pro14 2019/2020

CONN8 wrote: Can anybody tell me how this is going to affect qualifying for the European champions cup.

What happens if Scarlets finish 3rd and then get disbanded?


It's very much a takeover, not a merger, however it's phrased, so there's no chance of Scarlets disbanding. As it stands the only Welsh sides with any chance of HEC qualification are Cardiff and Scarlets who will still exist next season. It would have been interesting, to say the least, if Ospreys were still in the mix.

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1 week 5 days ago #65213 by pinky
Replied by pinky on topic Pro14 2019/2020
In the case of a merger, the higher placed team would determine qualification, but it is as you say a moot point.
It kinda sounds like that, faced with oblivion the season after next, Ospreys entertained a takeover proposals from Scarlets, may or may not have agreed to something, and then it became a race to see who could leak stuff faster.

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1 week 5 days ago #65214 by neill_m
Replied by neill_m on topic Pro14 2019/2020
In late December, the Scarlets received a high-level approach from the Ospreys to explore the option of a merger as they had come to the conclusion that their position as tenants at the Liberty Stadium was proving to be challenging.
This was discussed at the two-day strategy meeting of PRB on January 8th and 9th. The loss of a region would have put Welsh rugby in breach of its commitment to having four regions playing in the major competitions. As a result, the option of a team playing out of North Wales was raised. By the time of the next PRB meeting on February 5, discussions had broken down between the Scarlets and Ospreys and we were told that the Ospreys and another region were in talks over a possible merger, again with North Wales being the option to maintain four teams.

Subsequently, those discussions also broke down and we were approached again last week by the Ospreys to reconsider a merger. Heads of terms were agreed and signed by the Ospreys and Scarlets on March 1 on terms we believe our supporters would be happy with. This was to be proposed at a meeting of the PRB on Tuesday afternoon, but we were told at the start of that meeting that the Ospreys had changed their mind. The merger is off the table.

www.scarlets.wales/en/team-news/articles...pporters-everywhere/

So it appears it will not be the status quo next year - will Ospreys relocate NFL style to the North or just disappear and be replaced by "North Wales"?
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1 week 5 days ago #65215 by pinky
Replied by pinky on topic Pro14 2019/2020
Interesting. First real mention I heard of the Stadium. I know Swansea City took over "operational control" or whatever this time last year, announced expansion plans and then promptly got themselves relegated, but AFAIK the city council still own it and a long term deal with the Ospreys was part of the deal. But the switching of games to Brewery Field suggests they are in a weaker position than they were in before.

The other issue for the Pro14 that doesn't seem to have gotten as much coverage is the potential "investment" (read takeover) by CVC, who recently bought a stake in the Premiership. God knows what's going on there.

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1 week 5 days ago #65216 by salmson
Replied by salmson on topic Pro14 2019/2020
Though the local council owns the freehold on the stadium, Swansea took a 37-year (effectively the rest of its expected lifespan) lease on it in 2017, making them the dominant partner.

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