I will fight for the Dragons, says chairman Martyn Hazell

IN HOTSEAT: Dragons  chairman Martyn Hazell

IN HOTSEAT: Dragons chairman Martyn Hazell

First published in Sport South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

NEWPORT Gwent Dragons chairman Martyn Hazell has admitted the turmoil surrounding Welsh rugby is making it difficult to plan for the future at Rodney Parade.

There has been plenty of talk but very little action in the bid to help the ailing regional game.

However, a proposal that is reportedly being considered by the Professional Regional Game Board – which was set up in December – is to concentrate funding on just two of the four regions.

The thinking is that it would allow them to be more competitive in the Heineken Cup while the other pair would be downgraded with lower budgets.

Sights being trained on the Dragons is nothing new but chairman Hazell, a representative on the PRGB, admits that it is now making life hard at Rodney Parade.

“These are difficult times (for Welsh rugby) and tough decisions need to be made, but everything has to be done in the right way,” he said.

“I will fight tooth and nail to keep the Dragons going.

“It is very difficult planning for the future because players and sponsors ask whether we will continue to be around and as a board we need to find some answers quickly, ones based on common sense and fairness.

“Something needs to be done because there is not enough funding to sustain four teams in the Heineken Cup.”

The Dragons have increased their playing budget for next season and are in the middle of their recruitment. They will, however, come up short of the £3.5million salary cap.

“We have put down a marker by taking on Dean Ryan as rugby consultant and we are looking to invest in strengthening the squad for next season,” said Hazell.

“We are working hard to become a sustainable business but are hopeful that this is compatible with increased investment in our team.”

Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Roger Lewis speculated in an interview last month that it might even be necessary to cull a region, while a weekend report said that the Union had held talks with the Scarlets last summer about them recruiting from the Ospreys.

Those discussions came while the Swansea-based region were threatened with a winding-up order over an unpaid tax bill.

Rob Davies, an investor at the Liberty Stadium, claimed: “There is no doubt the union were planning a future without the Ospreys.

“Their plan was to introduce a new region in North Wales and that the Scarlets would take our players.

“I had been told during the summer that the Scarlets’ recruitment policy was to be based on recruiting players from us because we were going to be put out of business.

“Then we were told by people in the game to be prepared that the Heineken Cup would be going ahead without us. It’s incredible but we know this for a fact.”

The idea of the Ospreys – RaboDirect Pro12 champions and comfortably the best and most successful of the regions – being downgraded appears ridiculous.

Comments (20)

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6:51am Wed 2 Jan 13

East Newport Dave says...

'The idea of the Ospreys – RaboDirect Pro12 champions and comfortably the best and most successful of the regions – being downgraded appears ridiculous'

Chris, it looks to me as if the Ospreys have been living beyond their means. They can be as successful as they like on the field but it sounds as if they are on the brink. I could drive a Rolls Royce around which, on the face of it, gives the appearance of success until the bank pulls the plug.

The solutions are nonsense. The Scarlets/Llanelli have a history of poor financial management and the development of the game into North Wales is flogging a dead horse. It is a football culture there with no rugby history. What about bringing back on board the shamefully neglected hotbeds at Pontypool, Pontypridd and Bridgend. Let's get back to basics and operate to our strengths.
'The idea of the Ospreys – RaboDirect Pro12 champions and comfortably the best and most successful of the regions – being downgraded appears ridiculous' Chris, it looks to me as if the Ospreys have been living beyond their means. They can be as successful as they like on the field but it sounds as if they are on the brink. I could drive a Rolls Royce around which, on the face of it, gives the appearance of success until the bank pulls the plug. The solutions are nonsense. The Scarlets/Llanelli have a history of poor financial management and the development of the game into North Wales is flogging a dead horse. It is a football culture there with no rugby history. What about bringing back on board the shamefully neglected hotbeds at Pontypool, Pontypridd and Bridgend. Let's get back to basics and operate to our strengths. East Newport Dave
  • Score: 0

8:53am Wed 2 Jan 13

Dai Trying says...

Absolute nonsense. I do wish the media including this rag would stop from spreading rumours as if they are fact. Instead they are based on third hand conversations overheard in a bar after several pints. CUT it OUT, you are killing Welsh rugby
Absolute nonsense. I do wish the media including this rag would stop from spreading rumours as if they are fact. Instead they are based on third hand conversations overheard in a bar after several pints. CUT it OUT, you are killing Welsh rugby Dai Trying
  • Score: 0

9:01am Wed 2 Jan 13

high x boy says...

Scarlets are in debt again.
Scarlets are in debt again. high x boy
  • Score: 0

12:26pm Wed 2 Jan 13

let em swing says...

At the end of the day, the region benefactors are simply not wealthy enough to support the regions in a way they can become competitive, they should be on the lookout for new blood and money or the game is over for at least one region.
At the end of the day, the region benefactors are simply not wealthy enough to support the regions in a way they can become competitive, they should be on the lookout for new blood and money or the game is over for at least one region. let em swing
  • Score: 0

12:47pm Wed 2 Jan 13

kalwales@hotmail.com says...

now now, Martyn Hazell has said he will fight for the Dragons and i fully beleive him

thank you Mr Hazell for re-assuring us
now now, Martyn Hazell has said he will fight for the Dragons and i fully beleive him thank you Mr Hazell for re-assuring us kalwales@hotmail.com
  • Score: 0

3:09pm Wed 2 Jan 13

Robert Shillabeer says...

The Dragons are the least debt ridden region in Wales. The Scarlets are in it up to their necks again, the Ospreys are also in debt especially to the tax man and the Blues exist on money paid by Peters Pies. True much of the talk of doom and gloom are simply press rubbish and stupid comments snatched from the WRU CEO, yes there are some stories that do have some factual basis but the media will always report things to get a particular slant on it for their own ends, so wait and see what developments are proposed.
The Dragons are the least debt ridden region in Wales. The Scarlets are in it up to their necks again, the Ospreys are also in debt especially to the tax man and the Blues exist on money paid by Peters Pies. True much of the talk of doom and gloom are simply press rubbish and stupid comments snatched from the WRU CEO, yes there are some stories that do have some factual basis but the media will always report things to get a particular slant on it for their own ends, so wait and see what developments are proposed. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 0

4:00pm Wed 2 Jan 13

portforever says...

all points to just 2 regions , there is no money in pro rugby in wales its as simple as that, quins had a crowd of 80k for a club game, doubt if the welsh regions get that in a month and thats all four of them. we dont want just two but what is the answer, just plod on untill we are all skint,,,,
all points to just 2 regions , there is no money in pro rugby in wales its as simple as that, quins had a crowd of 80k for a club game, doubt if the welsh regions get that in a month and thats all four of them. we dont want just two but what is the answer, just plod on untill we are all skint,,,, portforever
  • Score: 0

5:18pm Wed 2 Jan 13

DOWNTHEPIT says...

i agree with portforever.2 regions 30 players on central contracts........
i agree with portforever.2 regions 30 players on central contracts........ DOWNTHEPIT
  • Score: 0

5:18pm Wed 2 Jan 13

Oddjob says...

kalwales@hotmail.com wrote:
now now, Martyn Hazell has said he will fight for the Dragons and i fully beleive him

thank you Mr Hazell for re-assuring us
All Newport & Gwent rugby supporters can now rest a little more easy in their beds!
[quote][p][bold]kalwales@hotmail.com[/bold] wrote: now now, Martyn Hazell has said he will fight for the Dragons and i fully beleive him thank you Mr Hazell for re-assuring us[/p][/quote]All Newport & Gwent rugby supporters can now rest a little more easy in their beds! Oddjob
  • Score: 0

7:00pm Wed 2 Jan 13

spaniard says...

Unless a wealthy benefactor steps in the Dragons will go out of business, the current players are not good enough to attract the crowds, a winning team would attract the crowds and therefore generate more money but at the moment with the current crop of players that scenario of bigger crowds, more money is just a pipe dream
Unless a wealthy benefactor steps in the Dragons will go out of business, the current players are not good enough to attract the crowds, a winning team would attract the crowds and therefore generate more money but at the moment with the current crop of players that scenario of bigger crowds, more money is just a pipe dream spaniard
  • Score: 0

8:05pm Wed 2 Jan 13

portforever says...

two regions will have better players and hopefully attract the crowds to the grounds. can not go on as it is without a few big suger daddies or less regions,,
two regions will have better players and hopefully attract the crowds to the grounds. can not go on as it is without a few big suger daddies or less regions,, portforever
  • Score: 0

8:45pm Wed 2 Jan 13

emlynkide says...

your'e all doing it again, its an old tory trick spread a rumer and when the masses start to get used to the idea you hit them with it, please use your grey matter and think before commenting unless of course you've got an hidden agenda and your in bed with the wru.
your'e all doing it again, its an old tory trick spread a rumer and when the masses start to get used to the idea you hit them with it, please use your grey matter and think before commenting unless of course you've got an hidden agenda and your in bed with the wru. emlynkide
  • Score: 0

9:11pm Wed 2 Jan 13

speakoutnow says...

Does anyone, including the WRU really believe that we could have a successful national team with just TWO regions.
Please just consider some obvious facts:
1. Two regions would still not be successful with just Welsh players contracted...and in fact there would bound to be foreigners in their ranks.
2. Even if they were all Welsh we as a nation are still lacking strength in depth in certain positions i.e. tight head...if Adam is injures O's AND Wales are stuffed! So the regions would still not succeed in Europe.
3. I think there could be enough money if less was spent at the very top....how many millions go into the National XV and its myriad of support staff...to the detriment of Regions and grass roots.
4. Paying off the stadium debt should NOT be the no.1 priority....we have been here before with the old, new stadium which was substantially paid for but unfortunately we did not have a team worth playing on it.
5.Finally is the WRU fit for purpose?
They criticise the Regions but their actions/utterances often leave a lot to be desired
Does anyone, including the WRU really believe that we could have a successful national team with just TWO regions. Please just consider some obvious facts: 1. Two regions would still not be successful with just Welsh players contracted...and in fact there would bound to be foreigners in their ranks. 2. Even if they were all Welsh we as a nation are still lacking strength in depth in certain positions i.e. tight head...if Adam is injures O's AND Wales are stuffed! So the regions would still not succeed in Europe. 3. I think there could be enough money if less was spent at the very top....how many millions go into the National XV and its myriad of support staff...to the detriment of Regions and grass roots. 4. Paying off the stadium debt should NOT be the no.1 priority....we have been here before with the old, new stadium which was substantially paid for but unfortunately we did not have a team worth playing on it. 5.Finally is the WRU fit for purpose? They criticise the Regions but their actions/utterances often leave a lot to be desired speakoutnow
  • Score: 0

9:32pm Wed 2 Jan 13

Euwan Usami says...

DOWNTHEPIT wrote:
i agree with portforever.2 regions 30 players on central contracts........
Can't see that happening. WRU would rather have a two tier regional system with 4 teams. You only have to look at Scotland to see what happens to your international side if you only have a tiny pool of top flight players to choose from. Worse case it will be 3 imo. But it's all talk at the moment of course.
[quote][p][bold]DOWNTHEPIT[/bold] wrote: i agree with portforever.2 regions 30 players on central contracts........[/p][/quote]Can't see that happening. WRU would rather have a two tier regional system with 4 teams. You only have to look at Scotland to see what happens to your international side if you only have a tiny pool of top flight players to choose from. Worse case it will be 3 imo. But it's all talk at the moment of course. Euwan Usami
  • Score: 0

9:35pm Wed 2 Jan 13

Euwan Usami says...

speakoutnow wrote:
Does anyone, including the WRU really believe that we could have a successful national team with just TWO regions.
Please just consider some obvious facts:
1. Two regions would still not be successful with just Welsh players contracted...and in fact there would bound to be foreigners in their ranks.
2. Even if they were all Welsh we as a nation are still lacking strength in depth in certain positions i.e. tight head...if Adam is injures O's AND Wales are stuffed! So the regions would still not succeed in Europe.
3. I think there could be enough money if less was spent at the very top....how many millions go into the National XV and its myriad of support staff...to the detriment of Regions and grass roots.
4. Paying off the stadium debt should NOT be the no.1 priority....we have been here before with the old, new stadium which was substantially paid for but unfortunately we did not have a team worth playing on it.
5.Finally is the WRU fit for purpose?
They criticise the Regions but their actions/utterances often leave a lot to be desired
Couldn't agree more with all of that.
[quote][p][bold]speakoutnow[/bold] wrote: Does anyone, including the WRU really believe that we could have a successful national team with just TWO regions. Please just consider some obvious facts: 1. Two regions would still not be successful with just Welsh players contracted...and in fact there would bound to be foreigners in their ranks. 2. Even if they were all Welsh we as a nation are still lacking strength in depth in certain positions i.e. tight head...if Adam is injures O's AND Wales are stuffed! So the regions would still not succeed in Europe. 3. I think there could be enough money if less was spent at the very top....how many millions go into the National XV and its myriad of support staff...to the detriment of Regions and grass roots. 4. Paying off the stadium debt should NOT be the no.1 priority....we have been here before with the old, new stadium which was substantially paid for but unfortunately we did not have a team worth playing on it. 5.Finally is the WRU fit for purpose? They criticise the Regions but their actions/utterances often leave a lot to be desired[/p][/quote]Couldn't agree more with all of that. Euwan Usami
  • Score: 0

9:36pm Wed 2 Jan 13

Hero Mutant Cowboys says...

What is the owner of the Celtic manor doing with his fortune? Shame he can't invest some of his cash in the regions!
What is the owner of the Celtic manor doing with his fortune? Shame he can't invest some of his cash in the regions! Hero Mutant Cowboys
  • Score: 0

12:08am Thu 3 Jan 13

speakoutnow says...

Hero Mutant Cowboys wrote:
What is the owner of the Celtic manor doing with his fortune? Shame he can't invest some of his cash in the regions!
Why would he?
He is used to working with professional people / organisations who are judged by their performance and rewarded for their success.
Tony Brown eventually realised that the WRU were amatuers masquerading as professionals and gave up....more's the pity, he was a real rugby man who was also a successful business man.
[quote][p][bold]Hero Mutant Cowboys[/bold] wrote: What is the owner of the Celtic manor doing with his fortune? Shame he can't invest some of his cash in the regions![/p][/quote]Why would he? He is used to working with professional people / organisations who are judged by their performance and rewarded for their success. Tony Brown eventually realised that the WRU were amatuers masquerading as professionals and gave up....more's the pity, he was a real rugby man who was also a successful business man. speakoutnow
  • Score: 0

12:18pm Thu 3 Jan 13

portforever says...

some of the facts are all our regions are skint or in trouble. so we just plod on with our heads in th ground,blues and dragons cant compete at the top level and the other two are in real trouble money wise.maybe two regions wont work, but what do we do then.crowds are rubbish compaired to england and ireland so we end up at the same level as scotland before long.there is no money in the game in wales as proves by the exodus out of wales to england and france. toby be next to go, and can anyone blame him if he moves for money and the chance to play in a competive team.
some of the facts are all our regions are skint or in trouble. so we just plod on with our heads in th ground,blues and dragons cant compete at the top level and the other two are in real trouble money wise.maybe two regions wont work, but what do we do then.crowds are rubbish compaired to england and ireland so we end up at the same level as scotland before long.there is no money in the game in wales as proves by the exodus out of wales to england and france. toby be next to go, and can anyone blame him if he moves for money and the chance to play in a competive team. portforever
  • Score: 0

1:16am Sat 5 Jan 13

Robert Shillabeer says...

We are being held back by two fundamental issues, the WRU are being run by novices in business management with a CEO who has his own agenda. The second is small levels of support locked in a downward enthusiasm due to poor results. Not just the Dragons but all Welsh regions, the Ospreys just managed to beat the Italian whipping boys by one point and the Scarlets were thrashed by Ulster in a very one sided game (a bigger defeat than the Dragons by the way) so the level of performance is very poor at the moment. This needs to be challenged not by going back to old ways or even killing off one or two regions, but by building better performances by bringing in better players and letting Welsh qualified players to mingle among god players and learning from them.
We are being held back by two fundamental issues, the WRU are being run by novices in business management with a CEO who has his own agenda. The second is small levels of support locked in a downward enthusiasm due to poor results. Not just the Dragons but all Welsh regions, the Ospreys just managed to beat the Italian whipping boys by one point and the Scarlets were thrashed by Ulster in a very one sided game (a bigger defeat than the Dragons by the way) so the level of performance is very poor at the moment. This needs to be challenged not by going back to old ways or even killing off one or two regions, but by building better performances by bringing in better players and letting Welsh qualified players to mingle among god players and learning from them. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 0

2:53pm Sat 5 Jan 13

portforever says...

we cant afford better players that is the whole point iam making, the better players leave wales for the money and the chance of siverware and we cant blame them for that.we got no money so we cant attract or hold our better playersl
like robert said ospreys just beat the mighty zebra, and west is best got a pasting . when you look at ireland and the crowds they get for the big three sides makes us look really poor in all aspects of pro rugby,ulster sold out weeks ago for last nights game, and they are spending millions on the stadium
they will have a ground which will hold
18000 and they will fill it most games, our four regions just about get that combined..
we cant afford better players that is the whole point iam making, the better players leave wales for the money and the chance of siverware and we cant blame them for that.we got no money so we cant attract or hold our better playersl like robert said ospreys just beat the mighty zebra, and west is best got a pasting . when you look at ireland and the crowds they get for the big three sides makes us look really poor in all aspects of pro rugby,ulster sold out weeks ago for last nights game, and they are spending millions on the stadium they will have a ground which will hold 18000 and they will fill it most games, our four regions just about get that combined.. portforever
  • Score: 0

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