Wales Online on Monday reported that Welsh Giants Opsreys and Scarlets were set for a merger. However latest news has now seen a major development which now means the merger is up in air. The Ospreys have said that they are not about to merge with the Scarlets.
Wales Online today reported that there were leaked images of players whatsapp messages discussing the news of the merger. However Welsh hooker Ken Owens also had strong words to say and has called for player representation on the board whom are making the big decisions. Owens said “This is the most challenging situation that I or arguably any player has faced during our rugby careers.”
In other news around the merger Mike James chairman of Ospreys rugby resigned at a meeting of regional and WRU bosses. He cited the main reason been the Union’s catastrophic mismanagement of the situation. Ospreys issued a statement saying that they are not on the verge of merging with the Scarlets, the statement read “The instability created by PRB’s (Player’s Rugby Board) chaotic approach to its own imposed restructuring criteria has been the height of recklessness at its worst and incompetent management at its best – an approach which has resulted in wild conjecture, hostility and uncertainty in the regional game.”
The PRB have also issued a statement this evening on behalf of all members apart from the Opsreys representative. They insisted they were advised a head of terms for the merger has been reached between the two regions on Friday 1st of March.
The PRB statement in full:
The members of the Professional Rugby Board (PRB) – the chairmen of the regions, and the WRU – have been meeting for 15 months and formally since the new Professional Rugby Agreement (PRA), signed by all parties, came into effect on the 31st January 2019.
The new PRA has brought in the rigour, transparency and accountability required to make the decisions necessary to take the game in Wales forward.
These meetings have been co-operative, collaborative and clear in their intent – specifically formulating a plan for the future sustainability and success of professional rugby in Wales.
The PRB met today, expecting to finalise a comprehensive proposal for the consideration of the WRU board.
A central component of the proposal was a merger between the Scarlets and Ospreys. The PRB were advised Heads of Terms for the merger had been reached between the two regions on Friday 1st March.
At today’s PRB meeting Mike James, chairman of the Ospreys, informed the PRB of his resignation from his role with the Ospreys.
The PRB would like to make clear that the statements issued today by the Ospreys do not reconcile with the minuted meetings, actions and documented agreements that have taken place to date.
The PRB support the principle of the proposed merger, not least because it is in keeping with the overall strategic direction agreed in planning sessions attended and agreed by the entire PRB in January.
The PRB wishes to put on record its disappointment at the timing and the uncertainty that this has caused players, staff, coaches and the Welsh rugby public.
The PRB is united in its pursuit of what is best for professional rugby in Wales.
Today’s events will not deflect the PRB from this course. It is vital that the rigour and accountability that has characterised discussions to date remains in place in the coming days and weeks.