DRAGONS chairman David Buttress believes a British League is a "no-brainer" and that private equity firm CVC are already plotting to make it happen.

The Guinness PRO14 has agreed to sell a 27 per cent stake in the league, which is owned by the Welsh, Scottish and Irish Rugby Unions, resulting in a cash boost of £120million.

That followed a deal in excess of £200million by CVC Capital Partners to buy a stake in the Gallagher Premiership in December 2018.

Buttress believes that the private equity firm, who previously owned Formula One and Moto GP, will provide professional rugby with a timely shake-up.

The Dragons chairman, whose side will face Bristol in front of a bumper crowd at Ashton Gate in the European Challenge Cup quarter-final in April, also believes they will look to combine the leagues and put the Celtic clubs up against their English rivals on a regular basis.

South Wales Argus:

"CVC are super-smart guys, they are off-the-charts smart. I trust these guys implicitly with improving our product and frankly I probably trust them more than anyone else, including the governing bodies.

"That's a pretty bold thing to say but these guys are so smart that they will just do the right thing for the product.

"They will just cut through the rubbish and the politics that gets professional sport stuck. I think that is a good thing, because I just want a product that is good and will grow the game. Growing the game means more kids playing and more punters coming through the gate.

"I trust CVC and I think they will be very challenging. They will question the speed of decision-making, they will question the quality of execution and if people can't deliver that then they will get people in that can.

"CVC will look at the data and say that the British League is a no-brainer and that we've got to find a way to make it work.

"I understand there will be complexity and complication but it's surely not a coincidence that CVC have bought into the English Premiership and the PRO14. They are not doing that to keep them in isolation, I can't believe that.

"I would be surprised if they haven't already gone and met with, say Sky Sports, BT and Amazon, and said 'if in 2020-whatever we create a British League would you create a rugby-dedicated channel'. I would be amazed if they haven't done it.

"My personal opinion is that they should do it now. If I was CVC I would do that pretty quickly, putting it together as quickly as the fixture list and the complexity of the rugby calendar allows.

"I think that it will come because I can't think of an investment thesis in which it would make sense to buy the PRO14 and Premiership and keep them in isolation.

"That just doesn't make sense because it won't make the return that private investors want."

South Wales Argus:

The Dragons return to PRO14 action on Saturday when they host Benetton and Buttress, pictured above with director of rugby Dean Ryan, candidly admitted that the league, which split into conferences when two South African sides joined in 2017, has work to do if it is to engage with punters.

"If you look at the best businesses in the world, the thing that they care most about is product," said the former Just Eat chief executive. "Whether its Apple, whether it is Premier League football, product is everything in the end.

"You can always make money off a great product but if you haven't got a great product then you are going to be managing the ship downwards.

"Rugby needs to focus on that. I will be open, the PRO14 has got work to do for me. I don't like the fact that it's not away and home fixtures, we've got to think about that, and with the television package we are behind a paywall.

"I get that from a short-term financial perspective but I don't get it from growing the game – we have got to get the balance right."