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Welsh Not To Blame Says David Moffett.
6 June 2005, 12:07 pm
"We need our fans to know that this was not of our doing." WRU chief executive David Moffett, told the Western Mail's Paul Abbandonato, labelling the Scots and Irish "immature"
David Moffett last night came out fighting in Wales' Celtic League battle with Ireland and Scotland by declaring, "We need our fans to know that this was not of our doing."

He labelled the Scots and Irish "immature" for their stance in kicking the Welsh teams out of the competition won by the Ospreys this season. And he declared the other two unions had "cut off their nose to spite their face", in effect saying they had acted in a fit of pique just because the Welsh regions were jumping into bed with England's finest in a revamped version of the Powergen Cup.

The Scots and Irish wanted Wales to participate instead in a competition called the Rainbow Cup, which would involve Italian and second rate South African teams. But WRU chief executive Moffett rapped, "We were never in favour of that competition.

"We are a sovereign union and we will not be pushed into a competitions we don't believe is in the best interests of Welsh rugby."

Moffett said top figures from the four Welsh regions, the Scarlets, Ospreys, Blues and Dragons, meet today to discuss the new crisis our game has been plunged into. A Welsh only round-robin competition amongst the four of them may be decided for next season, in a bid to give the regions a more reasonable number of games.

As things stand, they will be limited to a guaranteed number of just nine for 2005-06 - six in the Heineken Cup and three in the Anglo-Welsh tournament against the English sides.

Moffett said, "Clearly that is not enough matches to sustain our regions. This is not a good enough situation for anybody."

Asked if it was meltdown for our regional sides, Moffett replied, "We will have to wait and see. There will be big hitters at the meeting today to discuss the whole matter and what our response will be. There are lots of things we need to debate."

Defending Wales' actions in this whole sorry mess, Moffett said, "We had originally decided we did not wish to participate in either the Anglo-Welsh or the Rainbow Cup. The Irish and Scots insisted subsequently they wanted the Rainbow Cup. At that time, we had new approaches from the English to go into the Anglo-Welsh.

"We explained this at yesterday's meeting, but we made it abundantly clear that our priority would always be the Celtic League. It is the best opportunity Wales, Scotland and Ireland have of closing the gap on the other nations. That was self-evident with our Grand Slam success this season.

"But we preferred the Anglo-Welsh to the Rainbow Cup - and the Scots and Irish didn't like that. They took action which is tantamount to cutting off your nose to spite your face.

"The move they have made is very disappointing for Welsh rugby, and I can't imagine fans from Ireland or Scotland will be overly happy with the decision, either.

"Given the state of Scottish rugby on and off the field, I'd have thought Scotland would do everything in their power to play in a meaningful tournament.

"We've been aware there's a possibility they might do this to us. At a recent meeting, the Scots and Irish intimated to us this was a course of action they would follow.

"But we need our fans to understand we didn't withdraw from the Celtic League. We remain 100 per cent committed to the competition - as always.

"The talking has to continue and we have to remain hopeful a compromise solution can be found."

Moffett concluded, "For that to happen, though, there would have to be some movement on everybody's behalf. At the moment I just can't see how there can be a solution which is to everybody's satisfaction."

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