By Andrew Collins
December 20 2011
The Welsh Rugby Union is set to introduce a new salary cap for all the regions, a figure thought to be £3.5m covering 38 players. The news comes amid a player exodus from Welsh regions to French clubs.
Regional rugby is on the brink of inexistence, or at least would face an improbable future under the current spending models and player salaries, so the WRU are to announce their new salary cap at a press conference at 2.30pm today.
The news comes following something of a player exodus to the vastly richer French clubs, willing to throw money around for any of Wales’ World Cup superstars.
With James Hook, Lee Bryne and Mike Phillips making the move to France this summer, they look set to be joined by Luke Charteris, Adam Jones, Gethin Jenkins and Aled Brew as regions struggle to compete finically in the European market.
In recent weeks, representatives from Wales’ four regions have all made calls for more financial support from the WRU, amid growing concerns that Wales is facing a professional player drain. And while this news is unlikely to be the positive response the Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets were looking for, it perhaps shows just how bad the situation in Wales really is.
Just 3 weeks ago, Wales played a money-spinning match against Australia as part of a 1-match Autumn series which was played purely to help the WRU recoup some much needed finances.
Should the Blues lose Jenkins along with some of their big name stars – Casey Laulala, Xavier Rush, Paul Tito – they would be doing very little to stop the declining attendances at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Figures are looking bleak for Wales’ domestic and international governing bodies, and there seems to be no answer to the French vultures circling over rugby in the Principality.