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Welsh rugby ‘stuck in the stone age’ and held back by ‘farcical parochialism’ says Sam Warburton

23 Nov 2022 2 minute read
Sam Warburton. By Senedd Cymru (CC 2.0)

Former Wales captain Sam Warburton has slammed the “farcical parochialism” he says is holding back the development of Welsh rugby, whose structure is “stuck in the stone age”.

The Grand Slam winner and former Lions skipper said that the situation that led to Wales’ defeat against Tier 2 side Georgia last Saturday had “been brewing for some time both on and off the field”.

In an article for the Times newspaper, he added that it was “farcical” that there were eight community members on a WRU board made up of 12 people.

“It is a governance structure that is stuck in the Stone Age,” he said. “Unless that changes, very little else will change.”

“You need high-level people from the various sectors of finance, marketing and performance on that board and they need to make some savvy, strategic and potentially cut-throat decisions.”

‘Brutal’

Sam Warburton added that the situation was now “a mess” and that there was “little trust on either side”.

“I don’t think the WRU trust the regions with their money and then the regions don’t want to be owned by the WRU because their governance is so old fashioned and they do not trust their decisions,” he said.

“I really do fear for Wales in the next five years. They are simply not going to have the pool of players to compete, especially once the core of experienced players retire.”

He added: “If I was in charge at the WRU — and believe me, I am not touting for a job — I would be going around to speak to everyone in the Wales set up and at the regions. I would be saying: ‘Anonymously, please tell me everything that is good and bad.’ It needs to be brutal across the board to find the answers.”


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George Atkinson
George Atkinson
7 days ago

It doesn’t help when players like him would put playing in the English Lions tour over playing for his own country. Why is playing for the lions seen as more than playing for your own nation? Why isn’t Wales the top list of priorities? FFS they would rest Welsh players in the 6 Nations just for the lions tour. People in Wales see that, people in Wales also see our footballers putting their country over their club careers. Hence all the transfers our players had in the summer to ensure they got into this world cup. To be fair, Warburton… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
7 days ago

The standard is set by the union, and the WRU values GB over Cymru, as recently they disbanded the 7s team, players, coaches, staff, in order to be part of the GB 7s team, and go to the Oplympics. It was only in the early 1970s that the WRU stopped playing god save the queen before games, even when England were not the opponent. It is the rugby establishment mind set, to be pro GB.

Gareth
Gareth
7 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

And we also see many Wales rugby fans supporting the England football team,I know a few people who do, something team Cymru football fans would never consider.

Rob
Rob
6 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

Remember the Group of Death in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, where we had 3 top 5 nations in one pool – Australia, Wales, England, Fiji and Uruguay? That came about because Gatland was released for the Lions Job in 2012 (for the 2013 tour), so yeah I kind of see your point. First of all it was and still is absurd for the World Cup draw to take place 3 years in advance, but the WRU who knew this didn’t seem to care. Maybe they thought we had it in the bag after we won the Grand Slam that… Read more »

George Thomas
George Thomas
6 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

We’re too small a nation to rip into ourselves like this.

Gruff Williams
Gruff Williams
7 days ago

Thete is some truth in this. Warburton did state he was British before Welsh.

George Thomas
George Thomas
6 days ago

I agree that Warburton previously saying he’d value Lions over Wales is an awful statement to make. Warburton talks the talk but is he just about pointing out issues (we can all do that) or is he going to offer some leadership? I disagree with idea that Welsh rugby is based on anti-Welsh imperialism. I’m not going to leap to defend the WRU or the tails wagging the dog further down the chain. There’s a lot of passion for rugby, rightly so, but Ireland is 100x ahead of us and Italy is now racing past us too. And once fans… Read more »

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
7 days ago

Farcical Comments by Warburton, who spent his entire carrer playing, and milking the golden cow, with the Regions. Yes, the WRU needs to change, but the BIGGEST problem in Welsh Rugby is the so-called “regions” …..but mo mention of the white elephant in the room!!

Gareth
Gareth
7 days ago
Reply to  Dai Rob

The WRU came up with a plan to modernise, but were stabbed in the back by the junior clubs, who voted the plans down at a special AGM, voted out the professionals who formulated the plan and voted in 2 retired teachers to run the game. It is the junior clubs who are ruining the game, after taking the money, then voting down the final part of the deal, to which they agreed. Parochialism at it’s best.

DAVID MORGAN
DAVID MORGAN
7 days ago

The WRU have always been establishment lackeys.

Julie Jones
Julie Jones
7 days ago
Reply to  DAVID MORGAN

They will not change. The blazers have too many vested interests, and there are too many goodies to be received from time to time, such as meeting Willie and Kate Windsor. The WRU are on a par with FIFA – antiquated and definitely not fit for purpose.

Rob
Rob
6 days ago
Reply to  Julie Jones

FIFA is definitely corrupt, but at least they are not a closed shop like Rugby is. The fact that they would rather include South Africa in the Six Nations than Georgia proves that they have no interest in growing the sport internationally.

As for Wales, aside from RGC, the WRU is more or less non-existent up North. The fact that North Wales clubs cannot get promoted any higher than Division One North proves that their interests is for South Wales and not for all of Wales.

Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
6 days ago

Let it fold. Who cares?

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