EVERY penny counts at the moment in Welsh rugby, but that's not a new situation caused by coronavirus.

The pandemic has led to scrutiny over spending in all walks of life with most businesses feeling the pinch and many of them trying to cut costs.

These very pages will never be the same again. When I first joined the Argus we could've fielded a sportsdesk rugby sevens side, then it became a five-a-side team, then a four-man team pursuit and now I'd have to settle for a solo tennis rally against a wall.

Squad depth is also an issue at Newport County AFC, who are back in training to prepare for the League Two kick-off on September 12.

Manager Michael Flynn will be pleased that he has been able to offer Scot Bennett a one-year deal after the utility man was initially told that there was a freeze on contracts because of the pandemic.

However, all lower league teams will need to trim the fat ahead of a season that will start without gate receipts and matchday income.

Rodney Parade will be near-empty for quite some time with Newport RFC unlikely to be back in action until at least the winter while the Dragons will, like County, start behind closed doors.

Sadly, that denies supporters the chance to see a new batch of players that have got tongues wagging.

South Wales Argus:

The arrivals of Jonah Holmes, Nick Tompkins and Jamie Roberts (sorry Joe Maksymiw, you're not quite in their category!) have raised excitement after the solid first campaign under Dean Ryan.

While Dragons supporters eagerly pencil in their dream XV, others scratch their heads and ponder just how they are affording it.

I've written previously about it being important to return to private ownership, stopping the chatter about being propped up by the Welsh Rugby Union.

Chairman David Buttress had hoped to have the deal complete by now but then coronavirus led to a delay.

Fingers crossed it can be signed off before long, leaving the Dragons to have responsibility for their own playing budget of just under £5million and to embrace the pressure of having to grow commercially to pay the bills and give Ryan more spending power.

Buttress probably doesn't care about the chatter about the region's spending – Ryan certainly doesn't – and it's fair to assume that if clarity comes from private ownership then some other financial issue will muddy Welsh waters.

At times the professional game doesn't help itself and the introduction of a 38-man list of chosen internationals, with the WRU contributing 80 per cent of their salaries, has added to the frustration.

It's not necessarily the new model that is the problem but the implementation of it. The names have not been announced, nor are the places on the list that may still be up for grabs.

There is nothing to be gained from this situation.

We can all do the maths and work out those that are likely to be among Wayne Pivac's 38.

He named 38 players for the Six Nations with 27 of them being from the regions.

South Wales Argus:

Since then, Rhys Carre has signed for Cardiff Blues, Rhys Webb has headed for the Ospreys, Liam Williams has returned to the Scarlets and Jonah Holmes has moved to the Dragons while Hadleigh Parkes has dropped out after leaving Llanelli for Japan.

Ellis Jenkins was injured for the tournament along with Gareth Anscombe, Rhys Patchell, James Davies and Hallam Amos, who all played at the World Cup.

We can all guess and have a high success rate but why the secrecy over the 38? What is to be gained?

Every year the England and Wales Cricket Board announce their central contracts for the men's Test and a white-ball teams.

It doesn't preclude the unlucky ones from featuring for the national team – David Willey missed out but the left-armer shone in the recent ODI series with Ireland.

It's in everybody's best interests for Wales' 38 to be announced as one season ends and the next starts, avoiding situations like the current one with Will Rowlands.

The Dragons want the Wasps lock but, given the Test-heavy year ahead, it is only a deal that stacks up if he is in Pivac's selection.

With players away for large chunks of 2020/21, it doesn't make sense to bring a player in when 100 per cent of the salary would come out of the region's playing budget (granted, the current ownership model means that the WRU would have to pay 100 per cent regardless).

Has Pivac held back a spot for the Wasps man? If Rowlands, who has been training with the Coventry side ahead of the Premiership run-in, decided to see out the season then who would temporarily become part of the 38?

Perhaps the WRU would indulge in a bit of trolling by selecting the Dragons' Matthew Screech ahead of a fringe player from one of the other three.

It's a new system and there were teething problems – salary banding appeals, Cory Hill leaving the Dragons for the Blues – even before coronavirus led to pay cut disputes.

The governing body should learn from the first year and act with transparency by revealing the chosen 38.

Selection doesn't guarantee the individuals caps, nor does it stop others breaking into the Test team.