News of Ospreys and Scarlets proposed merger sparks fears for Welsh club rugby

Ospreys v Worcester Warriors - European Challenge Cup

Two of the biggest rugby clubs in Wales are set to merge in what is set to have big implications for the sport in the rugby mad nation.

The Professional Rugby Board of Wales meets today to discuss the plans to merge Ospreys and Scarlets for the start of next season.

The move will see the merged side based in North Wales, while Cardiff Blues and the Dragons will remain as they are.

The current Wales squad met with the Welsh Rugby Union yesterday with the belief that the proposal will be agreed to in the near future.

A WhatsApp conversation involving a number of key Welsh internationals has been leaked with a number of interesting thoughts published by Wales Online.

A leading player informed his teammates to make sure they sign new deals with their team especially as more and more players come onto the market from the Ospreys and Scarlets.

It is believed former Wales international Andries Pretorius is considering an emergency general meeting of its members to discuss the situation.

The unnamed player was quizzed if he knew when the merger would be announced, to which he replied: “They are thinking as soon as possible not to lose any more money.

"It’s looking likely.

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"But it obviously still has to be passed (by the PRB) tomorrow (Tuesday)!”

In terms of the reaction to the news, it has mainly been negative with many current and former players worried for employees of both clubs who could lose their jobs in this cost cutting measure.

However, former Ospreys, Wales and British and Irish Lions winger Shane Williams took a practical approach to the news.

"To be honest, if a merger was going to happen then this would make as much sense as anything.

"I would prefer the Ospreys to remain as they are with some extra help in an ideal world, but it’s clear that is not going to happen. 

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"There have been so many scenarios talked about in the past few weeks and it’s seemed things have changed almost on a daily basis. It’s typical Welsh rugby, isn’t it?

"If the Ospreys would have moved east to merge with Cardiff Blues then I don’t think that would have worked.

"Merging the Ospreys and Scarlets will at least create a quality region.

"If this merger is going to happen, it needs to happen soon because players will be worried about contracts. 

"This is happening three to four days before a big Six Nations game with Scotland. It’s typical Wales.”

While the prospects of the national team are on the rise, there appears to be an emerging black cloud surrounding the sport at the grass roots level.

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