WHAT a shocking suggestion! What an insult! The Welsh Rugby Union have shown so little regard for thousands of fans that it beggars belief.

They are supposed to be the guardians of the game, yet they have come up with the title of Gwent Dragons for the side to be based at Rodney Parade, ignoring the overwhelming claims for Newport to be included in the title.

Almost 12,000 supporters signed a petition for Newport to be in the name, and it was presented to the WRU by leading club backers Tony Brown and Martin Hazell.

It was supported by both the city's MPs, by the two AMs and by leading councillors.

Yet the WRU showed even less wisdom than usual in deciding to ride roughshod over the lot of them and come up with the name Gwent Dragons.

It was an appalling piece of judgement, staggering even by their standards, and it will spark howls of protest from all and sundry in the city.

Former players and supporters of Newport came up to me in their droves over the weekend absolutely disgusted at the WRU decision. I even had a call from overseas.

How the WRU could do it is beyond comprehension, though they can have little love for Tony Brown who has now turned his back on the Gwent region completely.

He took them on over European legislation, over employment law and won every time, so the WRU perhaps thought this was their chance to get even.

In the process, they have alienated thousands, and they will drive many away from rugby altogether. Yet they are supposed to govern the game!

And where was WRU chief David Moffett in all this? He is a businessman, so why didn't he intervene and make the decision in favour of the Newport name?

Is he not aware that Tony Brown has poured millions - yes millions - of pounds of his own money into Newport over the past four years? Does he not know of the infrastucture that has been set up making it the best ground in Wales?

What will happen to the hospitality boxes, the temporary stand at the clubhouse end of the ground, the family village and the Gateway project now? The WRU do not appear to care less.

Despite Brown's initial reservations, despite his anger over Moffett's failure to invoke the four-team plan and instead allow Cardiff and Llanelli to stand alone, he came around to the regional side. He was still prepared to back it, knowing that the WRU money will be inadequate to keep it going - but now he has turned his back on it.

Bridgend backer Leighton Samuel says he has put £500,000 of his own money into the Bridgend-Pontypridd region.

Brown would have done at least the same, and he had lined up leading overseas players to join, in much the same way as Cardiff and Llanelli have retained non-Welsh qualified players.

None of that will happen now. The WRU have condemned the Gwent side to mediocrity. Ebbw Vale chairman Marcus Russell will be in charge now, but you can't compare running a club like Vale with a fully fledged regional set-up.

It is believed the initial sum for the first month forwarded by the WRU to the five 'regions' - they can't be called that with two clubs standing alone - is around £109,000, which represents a considerable shortfall and won't be enough.

Is Russell going to guarantee the sum outstanding? The banks won't, the WRU can't, Tony Brown certainly isn't going to now.

Meanwhile, thousands of Newport fans will be lost to the game because they will refuse to support a side without their name in it.

Last season's average gate was 6,000, even in a poor year. I know of just one Newport person who is prepared to support the new region.

How many from the Valleys will replace the stay-aways? Will they pour down from Pontypool, from Ebbw Vale, from Newbridge, etc to watch Gwent Dragons play at Rodney Parade? I doubt it. In fact, there are many who wouldn't be seen dead at Newport Rugby Club.

The WRU had the chance to go for a grammar school system in these parts. Instead, they chose the comprehensive way ahead.

They have lost thousands of supporters and chucked them away to Newport HSOB, to Newport Saracens, to Cardiff City, to doing the shopping away from rugby altogether.

For that the Welsh Rugby Union should forever hang their heads in shame.

But there remains one avenue open to Newport - they can join the English system.

They are associate members of the RFU and while that is not the same as the full members they used to be, it still gives them some leverage.

Brown is now so disenchanted with the Welsh Rugby Union that maybe he could consider taking Newport into England, start at a lower level and try to work up to the Zurich Premiership.

Some task that, but if anyone can do it, Brown is the man.