Angry fans plan protests over state of Welsh game

Recent political carnage over the future of the Heineken Cup has brought the fraught union-region relationship to a head

The trouble and strife between the Welsh Rugby Union and its four deeply disaffected regional sides will be exacerbated over the Christmas period when members of the paying public stage a series of protests aimed at the governing body.

Supporters of Cardiff Blues, Newport-Gwent Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets will take action during the Pro 12 derby games between 20 December and 3 January to voice concern over the mass exodus of top international players and the continuing uncertainty over their teams' long-term viability in the land of the Six Nations champions.

"Our future is under threat as never before and it is time for all Welsh fans to stand up and be counted," a supporters' clubs statement said last night. "The WRU cannot be allowed to turn its back on the very organisations and individuals who have provided its success. In addition to the many tens of millions of pounds benefactors and commercial sponsors have committed to sustaining Welsh rugby over the last 10 years, every season-ticket holder and match attendee has committed thousands of pounds. Every one of us deserves a voice and we are working to launch a concerted campaign to show the WRU how we feel about its unacceptable narrow-mindedness."

Recent political carnage over the future of the Heineken Cup has brought the fraught union-region relationship to a head, with the four professional teams refusing to sign a new participation agreement with the governing body because of concerns over central funding and issues surrounding cross-border tournaments created by the English clubs' planned withdrawal from Europe at the end of the season.

The regions are considering an offer from across the Severn to form an Anglo-Welsh league – a move that would throw the northern hemisphere game into turmoil.

With the rival delegates failing to reach agreement on the substantive issues at a meeting in Swansea on Wednesday, both the union and the regions were awaiting the fallout on the player front, with two of the biggest names in world rugby – Wales captain Sam Warburton and goal-kicking full-back Leigh Halfpenny – due to decide shortly whether to stay in the domestic game with Cardiff Blues or accept one of the many big-money contracts on offer in France.

Meanwhile, London Irish confirmed their move into new ownership and announced the arrival of the World Cup-winning South African prop C J Van der Linde – the first of several major signings expected in the coming weeks. Mick Crossan, the new club president and the major figure in the consortium that completed its buyout today, described the club as a "sleeping giant in terms of unrealised potential".

There was bad news for the Ireland international team as prop Cian Healy was ruled out for eight weeks after ankle surgery. He will miss the start of the Six Nations.

* Sam Egerton became the first player to be sent off in the 141-year history of the Varsity match. The law student was dismissed for an off-the-ball incident but his Oxford team still beat Cambridge 33-15.

Suggested Topics
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments