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Wales considering a fifth team

Article Published: Friday 15 August 2008
Edited by: Rugbyweek.com
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Wales considering a fifth team

WRU Boss Roger Lewis says the Welsh Rugby Union are considering plans to establish a fifth Welsh rugby region and that he regrets the demise of the Celtic Warriors.

The decision to cut the fifth team(Celtic Warriors) in 2004 is still hugely controversial in Wales.

Adding to the controversy is that if a fifth team be created it is thought to be unlikely that it would be in the south Wales valleys and that North Wales would be the favourite location for what would be a development team.

"We are working with north Wales to see if we can put in place a development region," Lewis told the Western Mail.

"And we have to explore other opportunities in Wales as well.

"If I could put the clock back, I would certainly not have disbanded the Celtic Warriors," added Lewis, who admitted that a fifth region would mean a "financial risk" for the Union, who are still heavily in debt.

The issue of the fifth team is still one of the hottest topics since the WRU boss at the time David Moffett oversaw the demise of the Warriors side.

Wales coach Warren Gatland brought the subject up earlier this week when he told BBC Radio that he would welcome another team as it would increase his player base.

"It's something that we and the WRU have got to consider," said Gatland.

"When I was back in New Zealand, they were talking about the lack of depth and the number of New Zealand players that have left the country.

"I said to them: 'Imagine only having four Super 14 teams and seven of the players in each team being foreigners. That's what I have got to select the Welsh team from.

"We have to look at reducing the numbers of non-Welsh qualified players over the next three or four years, but I fully understand the pressure the regions are under to get results.

"If we had a development region and if we sent our youngsters there it would make sense."

Gatland used Australia as the shining light as they created the Brumbies for the Super12 and the the Western Force for the Super14.

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