Ospreys chairman labels merger plans 'a stitch up'
Last Updated: 06/03/19 8:33pm
Incoming Ospreys chairman Rob Davies has strongly criticised Wales' Professional Rugby Board over proposed changes to the Welsh regional sides.
The Scarlets said on Wednesday that any planned merger with their rivals Ospreys is "off the table", while Davies also confirmed such a proposal was "dead" and that the "clock is ticking."
The sides were expected to join forces under so-called Project Reset, together with a new professional team being formed in north Wales, alongside existing Welsh regions Cardiff Blues and the Dragons.
Former Ospreys chairman Mike James resigned at the start of Tuesday's PRB meeting, citing the Welsh Rugby Union's "catastrophic mismanagement" of efforts to overhaul the game.
In a statement released by the Ospreys, Davies, who takes over from James, said: "There are three stark realities. Firstly, the concept of an Ospreys-Scarlets merger is dead and the clock is ticking.
"Secondly, Wales was promised a comprehensive review with nothing off the table, but nothing has yet been put on the table.
"Thirdly, the PRB cynically left it to the regions to have a shoot-out for survival with the clear direction that a region in the west should go and make room for a fourth in the north. We are now where we are as a result."
Davies said he would be pressing WRU and PRB officials for a clear timetable and actions surrounding Project Reset.
"It's hard to look at this situation and not conclude that a stitch-up of convenience has just unravelled before us all," he added.
"There isn't a 'plan B', because there was never a 'plan A'. Even the PRB has said a western merger was central to their planning, which is frankly mind-boggling.
"Wishful thinking is not an acceptable replacement for responsible decision-making. It's now time for the grown-ups to get back in the room.
"It's time for experienced strategic planning, robust consultation and a methodical process to emerge that is transparent, timely and carries with it the full range of the sport's stakeholders.
"And this is what I will be discussing with Union and PRB officials over the coming days."