In a debate at the National Assembly for Wales on rugby yesterday, Plaid Cymru AM for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth said having a professional region in north Wales would be a major step forward but that nothing should be taken away from the excellent professional regions we have in the south.
Assembly Members debated the importance of rugby to the people of Wales, the economic benefits the game delivers, and its special place in the fabric of communities across our nation, following the strong concerns voiced by fans regarding a potential merger of the Ospreys and Scarlets’ regions as the Welsh Rugby Union proposed changes to the professional structure in Wales recently.
Mr ap Iorwerth, a junior rugby coach on Anglesey, made the case for having a professional rugby region in the north of Wales, but also that this development shouldn’t be at the expense of what is in place in south Wales at present.
Rhun ap Iorwerth said:
“If we are serious about making rugby a national game, then we must ensure that it’s a professional game at a national level too. And the response of north Wales to the Wales under-20 games in Colwyn Bay is proof of the appetite that there is to see rugby at the highest level in north Wales.
“I delight in seeing the young boys that I train being selected for youth teams in north Wales. There were a dozen of them, almost, playing in games earlier this week.
“Getting a professional team, creating those idols for them in their own region, would be a major step forward, and I look forward to seeing this conversation continue, and I hope that the end point will be to bring professional rugby to north Wales, taking nothing away from the excellent professional teams we already have in the south.”
🗣️'I'm looking forward to … hopefully bringing professional rugby to the north, whilst taking nothing away from the excellent professional teams we have in the south already.'
🏉Ran o fy nghyfraniad i ddadl aelodau ar rygbi heddiw.
— Rhun ap Iorwerth (@RhunapIorwerth) March 27, 2019