POLL: Would you like to see an Anglo-Welsh league next season?


With the turmoil over Europe seemingly no closer to a resolution, and the latest crisis talks in Wales yielding very little to suggest the future across the Severn Bridge is bright, the talk of a potential Anglo-Welsh league competition next season has been gathering pace. Is that something you’d like to see? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts below:

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Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

32 thoughts on “POLL: Would you like to see an Anglo-Welsh league next season?

  1. So if the English clubs are out of Europe next season, bringing the four Welsh regions into an expanded (?) league seems quite a nice idea. However, does this not make it difficult to return to a European competition when the time is right?

    Surely, the Scottish teams are in just as much need of this manner of assistance as the Welsh. So why take the Welsh but not the Scots 2 teams?

    Then where does that leave the Irish provinces?

    Perhaps an alternative Euro competition by another means???

    1. “need of this manner of assistance as the Welsh” – that’s a good point. I know it suits us Welsh (you’ve put it well Blub, this is helping us out) but is there a plus side for the English? Or perhaps a nuanced impact on the PRL e.g. would it further concentrate rugby in the PRL into the old heartlands – would the Welsh sides most likely displace the growing clubs like Newcastle, Sale, etc.?

      1. Well Brighty, I think that would be the risk for the PRL – Sale, Newcastle and Leeds could well suffer, and whilst this would not bother the shareholders of the larger clubs, as no doubt Cardiff instead of Sale is an attractive proposition, it doesn’t really help “push the boundaries”.

        That said of course, perhaps the “old heartlands” are the “old heartlands” for a good reason, and the game should accept that Rugby League and Soccer rule the roost in certain parts of the country.

  2. The day that 5 unions got together, at the exclusion of the RFU (or any other stakeholder), to take decisions on the future of the European game confirmed to me that the best interest of the game is the least of their priorities and keeping control of a small closed shop competition was top of them.

    Whilst Ritchie’s statements and stance (the only one showing any evidence of being motivated by stewardship of the game) are admirable, they are also irrelevant whilst the current attitudes exist.

    I’m for an Anglo-Welsh league as it would add real interest (and I expect commercial value) to the premiership and I hope get more clubs into a long term sustainable financial position. From a Welsh perspective the WRU could then take a step of saying it will only pick players from an Anglo-Welsh league and come up with some sort of participation agreement like the EPS, therefore stemming the exodus to France.

    1. Currently the big hitters in Europe are in Ireland and France (& I am not just talking about the teams):
      The IRB, 6N and ERC are all based in Dublin.
      The head of the IRB and ERC are both French and the FFR is massively powerful.
      It would be nice to dilute that power.

  3. Would love to see that but where does it go from there?

    What happens to Scottish & Irish teams, Irish players are leaving Ireland almost as fast as the Welsh leaving Wales. Can’t help but think its a big ruse to get the Euro Cup back in play.

    1. The Italians could join the French leagues, leaving an Irish and Scottish ‘super 6’ where each team plays the others 4 times. Given the derby games are the big ones anyway it may actually work out OK.

      1. Before the Pro 12 the Irish regions main games were HC or inter-provincial championships so I guess they’d revert to that.

  4. I love the idea, however, how does it fit in with the second division and relegation+ promotion? Just join them in with that?

    1. Yes Grundy, I think if we’re allowed in then full PRL rules for us. We’re invited in so we take the house rules. Relegation/promotion, etc. The interesting thing would be where do we start – Prem or 1st division?

      1. I’d say prem because what will draw the crowds is blues vs bath not blues vs bedford.
        But I think you might be on the wrong end of a lawsuit from London welsh if you did that

  5. I’d welcome the idea as I love going to games with the Welsh supports, great fans!! However it would have to be under current premiership rules with Relegation / Promotion and future European cup qualification rules. Can’t see the point in them starting in the lower leagues as it would just be a progression each season.

    1. That assumes that the Welsh clubs would consistently top the lower leagues. I dont think thats necessarily true other than perhaps in the very short term.

  6. I believe the initial suggestion would be for the contract to run for 5 years and then take it from there.
    It would be good to have Scotland involved and then it becomes a British League.
    One issue to deal with is relegation as, understandably, this would be a big change for the Welsh regions.
    But, personally, I really like the idea; it works for Football and Cricket, why not for Rugby

    1. I wonder what would happen to the LV cup. Would it be redundant? Or would it be expanded to include the English Championship and the Welsh Premiership?

      1. Perhaps officially move to being an under 19s tournament? We have regional under 18s tournaments in Wales already so could replace those with a British LV sponsored one?

  7. Very interesting one. I’m for it in principal but I’m not sure how it would stack up.

    For one the Irish/ Scots and Italians may not be too impressed.

    The Italians could join the French league; but would the French want that?

    The Scots could also join the British league? But then that’s an 18 team league unless we lose English sides, so not sure on that one.

    Not even sure what the Irish would do. I know Brighty mentioned their old style inter-provincial championships, but surely they wouldn’t want to go backwards to that?

    So really yes I would like to see it; but I’m not convinced it is as straightforward as we would like to think.

  8. What is happening in Wales. The ‘franchises’ wish to play in England and it seems that the WRU are pointing them in that direction as they have a plan to set up new (or energise older) clubs. Will the WRU be advising their Internationals to play in England (where they have no control ) or in the ‘new’ teams which will be run solely by the Union? why do so many think tjat the WRU want their players playing away from Wales. Maybe they want rid of the franchise owners so they can run things on their own!

  9. I find this a difficult decision. My heart says yes, a GB league, which should be open to the Scotts too, Would be brilliant but my head says it’s probably years too late and there are now too many entrenched obstacles.

    A 16 team league implies that the 12 Aviva teams would have to sacrifice up to 25% of the sponsorship and TV monies. It’s doubtful if this would be offset by any likely increase in commercial value. Also the Aviva shareholders of which I think there are 14, 2 of which play in the Championship, own shares valued at £5 million plus and paying annual dividends of £600,000 plus how could they be compensated for these? Then there is the problem of relegation. Would Welsh teams relegate to the championship or to some lower welsh league? The RFU make significant payments to the Aviva clubs for England players and help support the championship clubs. Obviously these payments would not be available to the Welsh. I think a GB league is only really viable with active cooperation between RFU, WRU and, if relevant SRFU.

    1. Think you’ve called in right here Ray. If it’s the same money, but more mouths to feed then everyone takes a cut and it’s a non starter. Same if the WRU remain vehemently opposed.

      If I’ve got this correct a 16 team league would provide an additional 108 league fixtures (132 -> 240) excluding any play offs. I guess the L(ow) V(alue) cup would have to make way to fit them in.

      With the bigger market and more fixtures it does seem as if there could be enough there to generate additional sponsorship and broadcast revenue (let alone the gate receipts) so on the surface of it I don’t see why it would be a financial non-starter.

      If the numbers did stack up then I would offer the Welsh a long term deal to get them in, and change the relegation rule so there would only be promotion/relegation if an English side finished bottom, basically offer them some longer term security if it’s in the commercial interests of the English clubs to have them in.

      1. For the whole thing to work there would have to be far more goodwill and cooperation between the three Unions than we’ve seen any sign of so far. Probably 3 Welsh and 1 scottish team in the Aviva and 1 each in an enlarged championship, thereafter they would have to face relegation like everyone else, maybe 2 up and 2 down as it was in the past, or a playoff between top and bottom. With a salary cap between 4 and 5 million a premiership club needs to generate revenues of 7 to 8 million to cover it’s costs, could the welsh clubs do that I wonder?

  10. The Welsh being offered places in the Premiership is a desparate, and solely strategic, move by PRL to save their soon-to-be-vacant European weekends. There are too many legal loopholes to be jumped through on the English side (re removing English teams, promotion-relegation of new Welsh teams, promotion of English teams this season), as well as the legal battles looming between the WRU and the Welsh regions.

    Additionally, the Irish, Scottish and Italians would be left out on an absolute limb. The French don’t want the Italians, and the Irish and Scottish particularly need weekly, varied, domestic competition.

    The Welsh are being used by the English as a bargaining chip, and they don’t even seem to see it. The English and French wanted the following:

    – Modified qualification procedures to ensure more meritocracy in the Pro12;
    – A more even split of money between the three leagues;
    – The governance of the competition to be given to the clubs, not the unions.

    They got points 1 and 2, which would seem to remove the need for point 3; the only reason point 3 was refused was so as to ensure that the English and French clubs didn’t have the ability to run roughshod over everyone else (as they’ve indicated they want to.) And then, the English frig off.

    So the English say “meet us halfway”; everyone meets them halfway; and then the English go home and take their ball with them.

    1. I’m not Welsh but suggesting that the Welsh are too dim to make a rational assessment of the pros and cons of the available alternatives is, frankly, insulting. Your points on governance, apart from being inaccurate, ignore the most recent reports which strongly suggest that there is far more going on in the background than is publicly acknowledged.We know that PRL and FFR want out from under the ERC straightjacket. It’s also been suggested that they want to see a reduction in what they see as the pernicious influence of the IRFU in Dublin. The FFR want to undermine the 6 nations committee by setting up a FIFA type structure in french speaking Geneva to significantly increase French influence at the expense of the current English speaking i.e. Anglo/celtic dominance, whilst the Irish will naturaly go to any legnths to preserve their influence. Add to this already pretty toxic mix the apparent desire of the WRU to undermine the regions and the consequent desperation of the WRR and the PRLs need (not desperation they can survive quite well without) to fill the 9 blank weekends and only a brave and possibly foolish man will hazard an opinion on where it will all end. The current situation seems to be that 5 of the 6 unions are agreed on a reformed HC under the governance of the 6 nations committee with only the French objecting and insisting on an eventual move to FIFA style in Geneva. If the French give way then problem solved, if not anything could happen.

      If we were starting with a clean sheet then the ideal solution would be a GB League under the joint control of the 3 home unions but I fear we missed that opportunity years ago.

  11. “The Welsh are being used by the English as a bargaining chip, and they don’t even seem to see it.”

    No, disagree. Don’t underestimate the financial draw of Bath v Cardiff, Leics v Llanelli, Gloucs v Newport, etc. There is definitely something in this to do with gaining position, but the Welsh teams (and I mean teams now, not regions) have enough history, draw and fading quality to make them an enticing prospect in a British League. (that wouldn’t cover all of Britain, I know, but when the Scots vote for independence that only leaves Ulster out really).

  12. Welsh rugby cannot survive or compete with the French or English paying power.
    A league consisting playing teams from England and Wales will have a massive spectator and marketing potential that would increase revenue dramatically.
    However we cannot just leave Ireland and Scottish sides out on their own (Italian sides can join the French).
    Why not 12 English, 4 Welsh, 2 Scottish and 4 Irish.
    These sides could play home and away if European rugby isn’t on the fixture list but when it comes back, sides could play each other home or away each year, then swap the following year or and could trim down the league from 22 to 20 or even 18 of the top sides !
    Alterntively we could keep the Pro 12 and the Aviva as it is, with the top 6 from each league entering a tournament/play off. With the bottom 6 of each league doing the same.

    1. Having followed the current civil war in welsh rugby I’m not convinced that an anglo/welsh competition would generate the ‘massive spectator and marketing appeal’ that many people think. I hadn’t previously realised how small is the supporter base for the Welsh regions. I was also surprised to find that ticket prices for the regions appear to be about half the price of AVIVA tickets. Would BT and other sponsors be prepared to increase the value of the AVIVA package by the 33% required to ensure that the English teams do not suffer any loss of revenue if the Welsh are to receive equal treatment.? Would a Cardiff v Leicester game really generat bigger crowds that say Leicester v Gloucester or Cardiff v Swansea.

      I also don’t see why the Irish, in particular, can’t be left on their own. Having followed the HC debacle in the Irish press and blog-O-sphere it seems to me that the IRFU were probably the main obstacle to agreeing the changes that would have avoided the French and English leaving ERC in the first place so leaving them out would be poetic justice. We should however do something for the Scotts if possible.

      Of course the Unions wont agree to any of this so it’s all likely to end up in court.

    2. how about the welsh stay where they are…too anti english for me..and i want to see england break away from the parasitical parts of the united kingdom..would they help england…would they f**k…same for english football..welsh teams denying more deserving english clubs a place in the league..if welsh..scots..irish football or rugby goes tits up…..nothing to do with england..its for the welsh..scots and irish to fix….not for the english to pick up the peices….ENGLAND FOREVER BRITAIN(BRITISH LIONS)NEVER….

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