Ospreys-Scarlets merger scrapped as Welsh rugby chooses to continue with four regions

THE PROFESSIONAL RUGBY Board (PRB) today confirmed that the Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets will each continue to represent Welsh professional rugby in domestic and European competition for 2019/20.

The announcement comes a fortnight after a proposed merger between Scarlets and Ospreys to be established in north Wales collapsed, but does not specify plans for the four regions beyond the scope of next season.

A meeting this week agreed terms of the new Professional Rugby Agreement (PRA). Signed by all five parties, it comes into effect on 31 January 2019 and has led to a doubling in direct funding by the Welsh Rugby Union from £10 million to £20 million per annum over the last two seasons.

Cory Hill (Dragons), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues).

“At a time of flux and huge potential change in the global rugby landscape the new PRA has already brought in the rigour, transparency and accountability required for the PRB to make the decisions necessary to take the professional game in Wales forward,” a statement read.

“It is vital that the momentum generated by Wales’ 2019 Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam and recognition of the integral contribution to that success made by the four professional sides in Wales, acts as a springboard for all of Welsh rugby.” 

The proposed merger between Scarlets and Ospreys was ruled out on 6 March amid growing hostility at establishing a combined set-up between the two regions in north Wales, which would have competed alongside Cardiff Blues and Dragons.

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