WEALTHY Newport benefactor Tony Brown (pictured) has turned his back on the new Gwent rugby region.

Brown wants nothing to do with the regional set-up established by the Welsh Rugby Union.

He has fallen out with Ebbw Vale chairman Marcus Russell, joint shareholder in the new company, and has rejected the region completely.

The final straw came when the Welsh Rugby Union recommended the name Gwent Dragons for the new team, whereas Brown wanted Newport to feature in it.

He backed a petition set up by Newport Supporters' Club for the name to be included in the title which was signed by nearly 12,000 fans and had the backing of Newport politicians, including MPs Paul Flynn and Alan Howarth, and AMs Rosemary Butler and John Griffiths.

And he became increasingly disillusioned with the way the region was established, seeing it as a virtual Ebbw Vale takeover, with their chairman, coach and fitness chief having a major role.

Brown declined to comment, but will make a statement tomorrow, while Russell could not be contacted.

Newport president Martin Hazell, who will take Brown's place on the Gwent board, said: "It's a blow for Gwent because with Tony's funding it could have been the best area in Wales."