WRU ready to tackle 'difficult decisions' in Professional Rugby Agreement negotiations

Scarlets, Ospreys, Cardiff Blues and Dragons
The four Welsh regional teams' relationship with the WRU is currently governed by the Rugby Services Agreement

Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Martyn Phillips says difficult decisions will be made to ensure long-term success for the game's future.

Welsh rugby's governing body have been discussing a new salary banding system and regional funding model.

The pay bands would replace the current system from next season, which includes national dual contracts (NDCs).

"This is a dynamic group and we will not shy away from making difficult decisions," Phillips said.

A new Professional Rugby Board (PRB) met this week to discuss a fresh agreement to replace the Rugby Services Agreement which was signed in 2014.

The Professional Rugby Agreement (PRA) will see the implementation of a new funding model that will give extra resources to certain regions based on performance on and off the field in different categories with targets being set.

No formal agreement has yet been activated and a statement revealed no specific details about the ongoing negotiations.

"We have details of a new PRA on the table and are in agreement to make it work," said Phillips.

"That means meeting a series of conditions which all parties have signed up to over the coming weeks and months.

"There are conditions which are clear lines in the sand, and will not be compromised, and must be met before the PRA can become fully active."

The PRB is a gathering of representatives from the five professional entities in Welsh rugby: the WRU, plus regional sides Scarlets, Ospreys, Cardiff Blues and Dragons.

'Bold and innovative'

The January two-day meeting was chaired by independent consultant David Lovett, while chief executive Phillips, finance director Steve Phillips and head of rugby operations Julie Paterson representing the WRU.

Regional chairmen Nigel Short, Mike James, Alun Jones and David Buttress were also in attendance, while WRU chairman Gareth Davies attended as an observer.

"Nothing is off the table and we will be both bold and innovative as we ask the fundamental questions about what is best for the future of our national game," Martyn Phillips added.

"We are all in this together and the mood in the room is one of excitement about the future, progress and impact we know we will be able to make.

"The last 18 months have been both challenging and rewarding and the last few days in particular have been productive.

"We recognise there will be tough choices ahead and may be setbacks along the way, but we are determined to do what is necessary to set the game up for long-term success."

Meanwhile, members of the new streamline 12-strong Welsh Rugby Union Board have been appointed.

Phillips and chairman Davies are joined by Anthony Buchanan, Rob Butcher, Gordon Eynon, Dave Young, Phil Thomas, Chris Morgan, Hywel Roberts, Aileen Richards and Tim Griffin.

The final spot will taken up by the chairman of the new PRB which is yet to be confirmed.

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