THE WELSH RUGBY UNION have agreed a deal in principle with the leading clubs in their jurisdiction to take part in a cross-border competition with Scottish Super 6 teams in April and May of 2020.
The provisional agreement is on the basis that this will have zero cost for the Welsh clubs involved. The WRU have already agreed to cover travel and accommodation expenses, and have asked clubs to identify any other overheads they anticipate arising from involvement in the competition. A follow-up meeting to discuss these extra costs has not yet been arranged.
The clubs are concerned that the WRU proposal to slash central funding to leading Welsh clubs from £93,000 this season to £50,000 in 2021-22 will not only prevent them from taking part in the cross-border competition but will impact on their long-term sustainability, with clubs like Neath, Cross Keys and Pontypridd already demonstrating financial difficulties during the 2018-19 season
Welsh clubs have also been promised that structure and timings of this new cross-border competition will be reviewed after the first year, and they will demand a longer term commitment.
Cross-border competition has been a central plank of SRU Chief Executive Mark Dodson‘s controversial Super 6 initiative since it was first unveiled in August 2017, but Murrayfield has so far been very vague on exactly how this element of the new tier will look and operate.
The SRU announced in February that the cross-border segment of the Super 6 season will involve eight matches although the exact format of the competition remains unclear.
The Offside Line understands that Super 6 clubs have been told that an announcement on the deal which will bring Welsh clubs on board is imminent. There is also hopes that Irish clubs will get involved in the near future.