Nigel Davies slams Welsh 'apathy'
December 7, 2013
Nigel Davies has sat on both the English and Welsh sides of the fence © Getty Images
Gloucester boss Nigel Davies has slammed the "apathy" in the Welsh game and has claimed plans for an Anglo-Welsh league have "a lot of merit".
The Welsh regions are reportedly considering legal action against the WRU for the right to play in cross-border competitions without needing the permission of the sport's governing body in Wales.
The regions and the WRU are meeting next week against a backdrop on confusion over the future of the Heineken Cup, the ongoing player exodus, financial concerns and a long-standing hostility between the parties involved. Suggestions that the regions could be invited to join an expanded Premiership will only add to the unease.
In a week where reports have claimed Bradley Davies, Richard Hibbard and Rhys Priestland will leave their respective regions to sign for teams in the Premiership, there seems to be no stemming of the tide of Wales' top players leaving the regional system.
Davies' Gloucester seem to be Hibbard's next port of call and he claims the exodus is not helped by 'apathy' from the WRU.
"There's a distinct lack of star names in the regions, and those are the players that actually attract people to the game," Davies said. "And young rugby players growing up in the region, and supporters too, they need stars, they need people they can look up to.
"And that makes them want to be part of it. Wales are losing that because they haven't got that type of player there. And that's a worry for me, not in the short term but certainly in the medium to long term.
"The apathy within the game in Wales to do anything about it is shocking, it's absolutely shocking."
And Davies is open to the idea of the Welsh regions joining the Premiership. He added: "I would have thought that the powers-that-be will be looking at it for obvious reasons.
"The fact that in Wales the regions are bleeding players, and there seems to be no help to support them there financially, or any other way, then you would question, and you would have to look at what their options are.
"As regions, they're not getting any support from within. Take the Welsh regions out [of the PRO12] and that causes a whole host of problems. But in terms of coming into an English system, or an Anglo-Welsh system, I think it's got a lot of merit. Commercially there are a lot of opportunities. A Welsh-English club tournament is very attractive to many people."
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