CHRIS KIRWAN SAYS: Funding is not only problem
9:10am Thursday 24th January 2013 in Sport
THE regions complain that competing against the cash-laden French clubs in Europe is like having a peashooter in a gunfight.
Well, changing the way the money is shared around may upgrade some of them to a Super Soaker but it’s going to make little difference against the blunderbusses being wielded by the Top 14.
The Ospreys, Cardiff Blues and Scarlets managed just 20 points between them in the Heineken Cup – less than five of the six group winners.
The Dragons were unable to claim a top scalp in the Amlin Challenge Cup, managing the bare minimum of a pair of wins against Italian part-timers Mogliano.
It was a failure that prompted Ospreys coach Jonathan Humphreys to label expectations “unrealistic” while ex-Scarlets chief Stuart Gallacher once again raised the issue of cutting one region’s funding.
“I believe we need four (but) I’m not saying four equal,” said the Regional Rugby Wales chief executive.
“To have an area of Wales without a professional region is self defeating... but I think we can do it differently.”
Such changes would not swell the budgets much, in fact they seem to be striving to get to the same level as English clubs… who themselves complain about being unable to compete with the French.
The Aviva Premiership is split with the likes of Leicester, Saracens, Bath and Northampton wanting the £4.5million salary cap increased and smaller clubs wanting things to stay as they are so that they can compete domestically.
The Welsh regions are already below that figure because of their self-imposed £3.5million limit and the Heineken trio would no doubt state that every little helps.
But perhaps the coaches should just concentrate on getting the most out of the tools at their disposal, because there’s no disguising the fact that the Wales internationals in their ranks should have led to more than the meagre amount of pool stage points managed this season.
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