Rugby Union: You'v E Got It So Very Wrong, Chris; Jenkins Hits Back at Davey's Western Mail Blast and Says Welsh Rugby Is on the Right Footing

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), May 2, 2003 | Go to article overview

Rugby Union: You'v E Got It So Very Wrong, Chris; Jenkins Hits Back at Davey's Western Mail Blast and Says Welsh Rugby Is on the Right Footing


Byline: Simon Thomas

TOMORROW, Gareth Jenkins' focus will be firmly on Llanelli's Principality Cup final against Newport.

But, by his own admission, he already has one glinting eye on next season and the birth of regional rugby in Wa

es Scarlets coach Jenkins is a passionate supporter of the new five-team structure, which he sees as a golden opportunity for Welsh rugby.

He has no time for the kind of criticism voiced by Wales Under-21 coach Chris Davey, who doesn't believe the reorganisation will change things for the better.

Referring to Davey's comments in The Western Mail on Tuesday, Jenkins said, ``It was an isolated view from a man on the outside who has no real in-depth knowledge of the situation.'' So no beating about the bush there!

Jenkins feels Welsh rugby has now reached a watershed where, for the first time in decades, the future looks brighter than the past.

``This season marks the end of an era,'' he said. ``One hundred years have gone by where we've just been plodding on.

``A decision has been made now that Welsh rugby will change for ever.

``It's the closing of one chapter, but the opening of another. It is a huge opportunity and I am genuinely excited about the prospects for next season.

``Never before has there been a concept like this that we have identified as a common cause.

``In the past, we have all worked behind closed doors with self-interest. There is a huge change of philosophy here.

``There is no doubt the changes needed to be made. It had to happen.

``We all recognise the fact that Welsh rugby has to change from top to bottom, starting with your eight-year-olds, up through village rugby, into the national leagues and up into the top tier which is going to be provincial rugby.

``We can now really start concentrating on developing our future players.

``There are a huge number of hearts and souls to be won out there, but what we've got is an opportunity for people to belong to a regional identity. ``It's a chance for everybody to work together for the same cause.''

Given the impending changes, there's a greater significance than ever upon tomorrow's showpiece event at the Millennium Stadium. It will be the last Welsh Cup final of its kind, with the competition set to take on a new format from next season.

The regional sides and their star names won't be involved in the future, with semi-pro-fessional and amateur clubs battling it out. …

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