My friend, Roger Lewis, is seemingly keen on testing which nuclear option will be taken first in Welsh rugby – either the club owners throw their collective toys and walk away, leaving him to march through empty streets with his Team Wales army behind him, or they finally get some togetherness and go their own way with the English.
It seems that the PRGB lasted only a meeting or two before the WRU withdrew, moaning that unless it set the agenda then its four representatives wouldn’t show. And, of course, off the agenda would be any idea of the WRU actually paying a fair share for player access….
So, what will the four do for themselves? Rumours are that they will seek an extended Anglo-Welsh competition to replace the seemingly dead in the water HEC from 2014-15. The English seem open to this option so if something can be worked out then we will have a very interesting time.
Why? Well, in 2014 the existing Participation Agreement between the WRU and the four will end. It is only at the request of the four that it can be automatically rolled on until 2019. But the value in doing that is the £6m or so per year that the WRU pay on top of the £9m generated by the competitions the four play in. If the HEC goes then so does its money, losing the game c.£5m in Wales.
I wonder if the four can find their own income streams, through a proper AW Competition, to make up any shortfall. Lewis must be hoping that they cannot, so that he can have his moment, a la The Dictator on his camel through New York.