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Should Welsh regions have been geographical?

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Should Welsh regions have been geographical? Empty Should Welsh regions have been geographical?

Post by gnollbeast Tue 07 Feb 2012, 9:54 am

The problem we have is trying to copy the Irish model isn't that simple. Even though they are provinces they are still clubs and have a long standing history and fan base and are almost perfectly divided into four quadrants across the island. As rugby is 99.99% South Wales and nearly all the major towns and infrastructure are located south, would making regions geographical not work?

EXAMPLE:

If the regions were split in Wales geographically, this is the best we would get.

NORTHWEST: Bangor
NORTHEAST: Wrexham
SOUTHWEST: Llanelli (but I would strongly recommend smaller games be played in Carmarthen and Aberyswtyth to encourage the "regional" feel.
SOUTHEAST: Cardiff (with smaller games in the valleys and newport)

This model would do the world of good for North Wales rugby, but it would disrupt and enhance the already awkward feelings between south Wales clubs.

With 3 new stadiums and massive investment at Dave Parade, the current model cannot really deviate from it's current state. What I proposed above was something that might have worked if they had done it originally. If you make regions geographical then you are not alienating certain clubs or changing allegiance from your old team to a new one.

It is really worrying because I cannot think of any way to fix the attendance problems. I think in years to come it will fix itself. Changing from the club format to regional lost a hell of a lot of support and die hard older fans so it will just take a few years to fix itself. Youngsters of today only know of regional rugby so they have no affiliation to the old clubs as such. Once they grow up and get jobs they will be buying tickets to see regional games as that is all they know.

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Post by Impossible Standards Tue 07 Feb 2012, 10:06 am

Yes it should have been geographical but unfortunately common sense didn't prevail when this was all set up. Personally I think in 2-3 generations time the attendances will go up as kids that are now attending the regional games will not have much interest in the old club system. All they will know is the 4 regions we have now. It was never going to be an easy transition giving the history and tribalism within south - west Wales so trying to get people to support made up franchise was always going to be difficult.
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Post by Standulstermen Tue 07 Feb 2012, 10:19 am

Did I hear during the u 20s that the home games during their 6N are being played in north Wales. That's good if true. It is too large and area to ignore totally. It would be great to see rugby develop in that way.

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Post by gnollbeast Tue 07 Feb 2012, 10:25 am

I still can't believe Shane Williams retires, but then something even more brutal and devastating comes along!

I bet there are more George Norths in Angelsey. Untapped resources need to be mined!

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Post by BridgendBoyo Tue 07 Feb 2012, 11:26 am

the regions exercise was badly implemented. It was left to the money men to draw up the regions, when the WRU should have stipulated what the regions should have been.

South Wales should have been split into four, with a development team in North Wales with the view to joining the fully professional ranks. I wouldnt have had a regional team based in Cardiff or Swansea, these cities are football dominated. People choose to watch football rather than rugby, as Ospreys have seen to their detriment this season

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Post by gnollbeast Tue 07 Feb 2012, 11:47 am

BridgendBoyo wrote:the regions exercise was badly implemented. It was left to the money men to draw up the regions, when the WRU should have stipulated what the regions should have been.

South Wales should have been split into four, with a development team in North Wales with the view to joining the fully professional ranks. I wouldnt have had a regional team based in Cardiff or Swansea, these cities are football dominated. People choose to watch football rather than rugby, as Ospreys have seen to their detriment this season

The problem is population, infrastructure, proximity to stadiums etc etc...

You couldn't have a regional team in Pembrokeshire for instance as the roads to get there are so bad.

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Post by BridgendBoyo Tue 07 Feb 2012, 11:58 am

True, but you could have had a west wales team in Carmarthen. That would have been good for people to travel down from Ceredigion and west from Pembrokeshire.

Aberavan, Bridgend or Llantrisant could have been used for a South Wales team.

Aberdare/Merthyr could have been used for a Valleys team, good acces because of the heads of Valley road, also people living in Brecon and Mid Wales could reach there.

Cwmbran/Newport could have been used for a Gwent/Monmouth team

The WRU should have imposed their will, but they didnt. Now we are left with what we have. People have invested too much of their own money (Cuddy/Peters) for things to change. We will have to wait for those eho have only known this regional setup to go to games.

I'll go watch the Ospreys games, ive had a season ticket a couple of times. But it still doesnt bother too much when they loose.

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Post by red_stag Tue 07 Feb 2012, 12:02 pm

To me the WRU should have just said that they were franchises like in NZ. There are loads of club teams who don't have a franchise and it all works out.

The word region has caused more problems for Welsh rugby than anything.
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Post by doctornickolas Tue 07 Feb 2012, 12:02 pm

Geographical split would have been fairly easy I think.

For example the Police Force is split in 4 as Gwent, South Wales (Glamorgan), Dyfed-Powys and North Wales.

Or you could have Gwent, Glamorgan and Dyfed to cover South Wales and then a North&MidWales(Powys) side.

The WRU original model was along these lines but the clubs refused and backed the WRU in to a corner by threatening legal action (Llanelli and Cardiff were most to blame for this). The WRU said 'fine, you come up with something' which is what they did, 'a dogs breakfast' where the 2 clubs that were providing the most players coming through are on the outside looking in. Ie Ponty and Bridgend.



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Post by BridgendBoyo Tue 07 Feb 2012, 12:04 pm

At least Cardiff had their own money. Llanelli were skint (still are) and they got their own way. WRU still should have told them to go forth and multiply

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Tue 07 Feb 2012, 12:40 pm

TO be honest the only region that is based on a geographic area is the Scarlets, they represent what used to be called Dyfyd (and now is Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Cardiganshire), or also know as West Wales (no Swansea is not West it is pretty much central south if you look at it). They were supported by the people of Dyfyd pre-regional, bar a few who preffered Neath, or glory supported Newprort/Swansea/Cardiff as and when it suited. So as a region it does make perfect sense geographically.
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Post by BridgendBoyo Tue 07 Feb 2012, 12:44 pm

Can you explain why everyone I know who are from Ammanford, Llandeilo, Cross Hands and Llandovery are all Ospreys fans? Found it weird, as when I first met them I assumed they would be Scarlets fans. They all looked at me like i was mad?

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Tue 07 Feb 2012, 12:46 pm

BridgendBoyo wrote:At least Cardiff had their own money. Llanelli were skint (still are) and they got their own way. WRU still should have told them to go forth and multiply

Didn't the Blues almost go brest up within the first season of regionalism, and were offered a life line by merging with the Warriors, they turned it down, and then the WRU killed off the Warriors, and gave the Blues a helping hand? I appreciate that the Scarlets have been helped out by the WRU, as have the Dragons (part owned I believe?), and probably the Ospreys too (not sure of an example though). Lets face it none of us were particularly sturdy moneywise at the start of the professional era as clubs and the regions started off existance in exactly the same way.
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Post by ScarletSpiderman Tue 07 Feb 2012, 12:50 pm

BridgendBoyo wrote:Can you explain why everyone I know who are from Ammanford, Llandeilo, Cross Hands and Llandovery are all Ospreys fans? Found it weird, as when I first met them I assumed they would be Scarlets fans. They all looked at me like i was mad?

Well I can explain Shane Williams saying that he was a LLanelli RFC fan when he was young, I can explain the folks from Porthcawl who I see at every home game, and I can explain the boys from around the Amman who are at every home game. Without talking to 'everyone' you know from there I can't help you out.

Also I am from the real west of Wales in Milford Haven, I have a 120 mile round trip to get to PYS for every home game, and I know a heap of folk who do try to get to as many games as possible (or when they can due to work and family commitments etc).
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Post by BridgendBoyo Tue 07 Feb 2012, 12:55 pm

I still riles me that Llanelli and Cardiff ar$ed up the regional setup by demanding they be a standalone, especially cos they were skint. Because of it they sacrified my region.

Dont know if Cardiff were skint? but it wouldnt surprise if they had a hand in it all

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Post by BridgendBoyo Tue 07 Feb 2012, 12:59 pm

Hmmm, just people from uni and some of their friends live in Ammonford, my mates wife is from ammonford her whole family support the ospreys along with all they're friends. I know a couple of blokes from Llandeilo and llandovery who've got small holdings. theyve always supported neath and then the ospreys. Havnt met anybody from Carmarthenshire who support the Scarlets come to think of it


Last edited by BridgendBoyo on Tue 07 Feb 2012, 1:02 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : dyslexic fingers)

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Tue 07 Feb 2012, 3:07 pm

BridgendBoyo wrote:I still riles me that Llanelli and Cardiff ar$ed up the regional setup by demanding they be a standalone, especially cos they were skint. Because of it they sacrified my region.

Dont know if Cardiff were skint? but it wouldnt surprise if they had a hand in it all

I can fully understand where your coming from mate, but honestly how far do you have to go to see the Ospreys play?
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Post by BridgendBoyo Tue 07 Feb 2012, 3:09 pm

i do go and watch them. ive been a season ticket holder twice.

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Post by Shifty Tue 07 Feb 2012, 6:08 pm

Progress is often slow and painful and turkeys don't vote for Christmas, especially when those turkeys actually hold most of the cards.

We should leave the 4 regions alone and have a Welsh Provincial championship below it, instead of the Welsh premiership.
The biggest problem in Welsh rugby has always been the game pretty much starts and ends between Llanelli and Newport.

We do talk about North Wales but there is also Pembrokeshire to the south west, Monmouthshire to the east, Ceredigion and Powys in the Middle as well.

I think we should go back to the origonal plan of having each region have 2 development clubs within their region.

1 Swansea (Ospreys)
2 Bridgend (Ospreys)
3 Cardiff (Blues)
4 Pontypridd (Blues)
5 Newport (Dragons)
6 Cross Keys (Dragons)
7 Llanelli (Scarlets)
8 Carmarthen Quins (Scarlets)

Although Wales wanted to focus it's talent, the issue the clubs had is they felt 7 homes league games a season was not enough to run a professional competition. So we need the regions 2 clubs each and to expand the game into other areas of Wales that have never had oppertunities and investment, so I'd like to see some rebranding.

So we add another 8 teams from all over Wales to give us a 16 team league, so we have plenty of games.

9 Pembrokeshire Pumas (rebrand Haverfordwest Rfc)
10 Monmouthshire Marauders (rebrand Abergavenny)
11 Ceredigion Cobras (rebrand Aberystwyth)
12 Powys Panthers (rebrand Newtown)
13 Snowdonia Sharks (rebrand Bangor)
14 Ynys Môn Dolphins (rebanrd Llangefni, Anglesey Island)
15 Clwyd West Wolves (rebrand RGC 1404, play at Park Erias, Colwyn Bay)
16 Clwyd East Eagles (rebrand Wrexham, but play games at Racecourse)

The British and Irish Cup is only 6-9 weeks for 6 teams depending on progress, so 30 weeks of league games, and a max 9 weeks of British and Irish Cup games still fits into a 42 weeks season.

I'm not sure about the Swalec Cup unless we leave out the 6 British and Irish Cup teams, or let those 6 teams play their Cup games in midweek and let them join the competition at the last 16?

Thats what I would do anyway.


Last edited by AlynDavies on Tue 07 Feb 2012, 6:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Totallybiasedscarlet Tue 07 Feb 2012, 6:12 pm

BridgendBoyo wrote:Can you explain why everyone I know who are from Ammanford, Llandeilo, Cross Hands and Llandovery are all Ospreys fans? Found it weird, as when I first met them I assumed they would be Scarlets fans. They all looked at me like i was mad?

Because they used to be Neath fans. Always been a crossover area. Lots of Scarlets fans up there too.
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Post by Totallybiasedscarlet Tue 07 Feb 2012, 6:15 pm

Should have been West (Swansea), South (Cardiff), East (Newport), and North (Wrexham), but as has been mentioned the clubs were too strong for the WRU at the time. It is a dogs dinner and I am alarmed to hear about this idea to unbalance the funding. Seems deeply unfair to me.
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Post by Shifty Tue 07 Feb 2012, 6:49 pm

Totallybiasedscarlet wrote:Should have been West (Swansea), South (Cardiff), East (Newport), and North (Wrexham), but as has been mentioned the clubs were too strong for the WRU at the time. It is a dogs dinner and I am alarmed to hear about this idea to unbalance the funding. Seems deeply unfair to me.

The only REAL way we could of done it was to make 5 regions based on our ancient tribal names.

Silures = based in Cardiff
Demetae = based in Llanelli
Ordovices = based in Newtown
Gangani = based in Bangor
Deceangli = based in Colwyn Bay

Cant argue with that, the Welsh are tribal, it predates rugby, and any valley, city rivallry that has developed since. Every person from Pontypridd, gwent, Cardiff, and Swansea is a Silures! thumbsup
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Post by ScarletSpiderman Wed 08 Feb 2012, 9:40 am

AlynDavies wrote:We do talk about North Wales but there is also Pembrokeshire to the south west, Monmouthshire to the east, Ceredigion and Powys in the Middle as well.

Thank you for remembering that there is more to the country than the south east, the central south (or west wales as people on here call it), and the north.
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Post by bedfordwelsh Wed 08 Feb 2012, 10:44 am

Didn't we use to have Gwent v East v West fixtures years back. Wouldn't it have been easier to have gone with those sort of teams and evolve the Regions from there?
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Post by BridgendBoyo Wed 08 Feb 2012, 11:36 am

bedfordwelsh wrote:Didn't we use to have Gwent v East v West fixtures years back. Wouldn't it have been easier to have gone with those sort of teams and evolve the Regions from there?

Probably. But that would have been too easy an option for the WRU and the clubs at the time. That would have been one of the sensible options, but when has the WRU or clubs ever taken the sensible option.

Their thinking (WRU and clubs) was that the so called regions were going to happen, nothing anybody said or protested (general welsh supporters) was going to change that, in time we would all come around to their way of thinking. Probably didnt even occur to them at the time that people would just turn their backs on the domestic game.

Thing is, this current set up isnt going to change, we dont have the money to do it. so the current regions are going to drastically have to change their approach to the game, even if that means rebranding and looking to get the fans involved in running of the regions instaed of ignoring them completely

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Wed 08 Feb 2012, 12:48 pm

Boyo - not being harsh mate, but isn't that what the regions are doing? The Ospreys have played outside of their main ground and played around the region. The Dragons are (from what I hear from their fans) traveling around and interacting with their feeder clubs and folks in the regions. The Scarelts have seen a large rise in their average gate (almost 2k more than the next average regional gate), so they must be doing something right to pull in the fans. And it seems the Blues are willing to see if the 'move back to CAP and we will follow you agin' fans will put their money where their mouth is and playing back there for some matches.
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Post by BridgendBoyo Wed 08 Feb 2012, 12:58 pm

The Ospreys have made more of an effort, agreed. But why just play LV games? Why havmt they played more PRO12 outside of the liberty?

Cardiff are moving back to CAP for one game, if the fans had their choice it wouldnt have moved and the Blues wouldnt have been in this predicament.

Dragons havnt played outside Newport eithr. I don't think they've done enough in the past. Have they looked into whther dropping the Newport prfix would help? (Same for Cardiff)

Scarlets have been playing good rugby recently which is why they've had bigger attendences, but they're still low. All the regions are playing in half empty stadia

Compared to the Irish, the regions have been shown to be a proper bunch amatuers. Only realising that they've only been paying lipservice, which is why people havnt been turning up to watch them.

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Post by bedfordwelsh Wed 08 Feb 2012, 1:14 pm

BB,

I have always led the calls for the Dragons to at least have a trial period by playing some of their smaller games away from Dave and maybe dropping the Newport name.

But that said they are doing a hell of a lot of work within the Gwent community.

If they start moving games around then I think you have to start with the smaller ones LV or Airioni in the Pro12 maybe just to gauge a reaction from the other areas.
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Post by ScarletSpiderman Wed 08 Feb 2012, 1:45 pm

BB - the regions are based in the locations they are (within their region) due to population sizes and stadium sizes. For example using the Scarlets for an example (as they are the ones I am more knowledgable on), they can't realistically move a game to another stadium due to the stadiums around the area not being up to standards (I doubt you could get all the season ticket holders into Carm Quins stand).

If the Ospreys were to spread they games around the region then they would not go for an important HC or Rabo match, as they would expect a large croud and the Brewery, Gnoll, and St. Hellens are all too small if they are looking at a five figure crowd. And likewise with the Dragons/Blues
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Post by BridgendBoyo Wed 08 Feb 2012, 1:58 pm

I get what your saying, Scarlets probably couldnt play around the region, but the Ospreys could.

It's because they havnt taken to the road in previous seasons, fans still feel disenfranchised. The Ospreys could play games at the Brewery Field or the Gnoll because nobody is watching them. Maybe not for a important HC game or a derby, but they could for the PRO12 if they were playing Glasgow, Edinburgh, Connaught, Aironi, Treviso, Dragons.

Theyve got nothing to loose by playing the games around a bit. I would go to the Gnoll, alot easier as like Bridgend you can just stp off the train and walk 5 mins to the ground. not have to deal with hastle of getting to the liberty.

Also, Ospreys and the Blues are in direct competition with the Swans and Bluebirds, and they are losing


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Post by ScarletSpiderman Wed 08 Feb 2012, 3:14 pm

BridgendBoyo wrote:Also, Ospreys and the Blues are in direct competition with the Swans and Bluebirds, and they are losing

That is more or less the problem they have with attendance. Both Blues and Ospreys had decent attendances a few seasons ago, but with the football sides doing better and the rugby sides not so, the glory support fan will most likely take a punt on the football.
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Post by Shifty Wed 08 Feb 2012, 5:46 pm

[quote="ScarletSpiderman"]
BridgendBoyo wrote:That is more or less the problem they have with attendance. Both Blues and Ospreys had decent attendances a few seasons ago, but with the football sides doing better and the rugby sides not so, the glory support fan will most likely take a punt on the football.

A lot of duel Ospreys and Swansea season ticket holders were pretty honest at the start of the season and said they would just focus on the Swans this year and enjoy the Premiership while it lasted, Swansea actually have 18,500 season ticket holders, with the remaining 2,000 stadium places reserved for away fans.
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Post by Casartelli Wed 08 Feb 2012, 7:00 pm

ScarletSpiderman wrote:TO be honest the only region that is based on a geographic area is the Scarlets, they represent what used to be called Dyfyd (and now is Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Cardiganshire), or also know as West Wales (no Swansea is not West it is pretty much central south if you look at it). They were supported by the people of Dyfyd pre-regional, bar a few who preffered Neath, or glory supported Newprort/Swansea/Cardiff as and when it suited. So as a region it does make perfect sense geographically.

This point is regularly raised by Llanelli supporters - "we've always been a regional team of the west" etc.

At the risk of stating the obvious - if this was true, wouldn't the crowds be a lot bigger?

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Post by Steffan Wed 08 Feb 2012, 7:05 pm

Casartelli wrote:At the risk of stating the obvious - if this was true, wouldn't the crowds be a lot bigger?

I used to work a guy from Llanelli and while he was a nice enough bloke he always fed me the "We are the club of West Wales, North Wales, Mid Wales bla bla" nonsense

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Thu 09 Feb 2012, 12:47 pm

Casartelli wrote:
ScarletSpiderman wrote:TO be honest the only region that is based on a geographic area is the Scarlets, they represent what used to be called Dyfyd (and now is Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Cardiganshire), or also know as West Wales (no Swansea is not West it is pretty much central south if you look at it). They were supported by the people of Dyfyd pre-regional, bar a few who preffered Neath, or glory supported Newprort/Swansea/Cardiff as and when it suited. So as a region it does make perfect sense geographically.

This point is regularly raised by Llanelli supporters - "we've always been a regional team of the west" etc.

At the risk of stating the obvious - if this was true, wouldn't the crowds be a lot bigger?

Well I can only say that Llanelli RFC used to do appeareances at the Pembrokeshire County SHow (now the Scarlets do the same), and used to come down to Milford Haven and train at teh club there. That is what 60 mile away from Llanelli, so I would guess that would have been called being regional. Also the Scarlets region does not have many big population centres in it. After Llanelli itself Milford Haven is the largest population, and trust me I live there, it is pretty financially poor area. I believe it was that bad that Pembs had Objective 1 funding from the EEC (or what ever they called tehmselves back then). SO lack of population coupled with a heap of them not have much if any surplus cash to spend on traveling/tickets would make pretty good sense for lack of attendance. That said its at 9k+ on average so when the Blues and Ospresy are on an average of 7.7K-ish i guess our attendances are not too shabby at all.
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Post by Casartelli Fri 10 Feb 2012, 9:08 pm

ScarletSpiderman wrote:
Casartelli wrote:
ScarletSpiderman wrote:TO be honest the only region that is based on a geographic area is the Scarlets, they represent what used to be called Dyfyd (and now is Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Cardiganshire), or also know as West Wales (no Swansea is not West it is pretty much central south if you look at it). They were supported by the people of Dyfyd pre-regional, bar a few who preffered Neath, or glory supported Newprort/Swansea/Cardiff as and when it suited. So as a region it does make perfect sense geographically.

This point is regularly raised by Llanelli supporters - "we've always been a regional team of the west" etc.

At the risk of stating the obvious - if this was true, wouldn't the crowds be a lot bigger?

Well I can only say that Llanelli RFC used to do appeareances at the Pembrokeshire County SHow (now the Scarlets do the same), and used to come down to Milford Haven and train at teh club there. That is what 60 mile away from Llanelli, so I would guess that would have been called being regional. Also the Scarlets region does not have many big population centres in it. After Llanelli itself Milford Haven is the largest population, and trust me I live there, it is pretty financially poor area. I believe it was that bad that Pembs had Objective 1 funding from the EEC (or what ever they called tehmselves back then). SO lack of population coupled with a heap of them not have much if any surplus cash to spend on traveling/tickets would make pretty good sense for lack of attendance. That said its at 9k+ on average so when the Blues and Ospresy are on an average of 7.7K-ish i guess our attendances are not too shabby at all.

9k+!!!!

Where are you getting that from???

Even rugbydreamer doesn't ... err ... 'dream' those sort of figures up - even if you include pre-sold season tickets (ignoring whether or not they turn up to the game!!!).

Regardless, a 'region' that is supposed to represent 'West Wales' that can't even fill PYS?

Abject failure, in Welsh rugby terms.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman Mon 13 Feb 2012, 9:49 am

Casartelli - That was the figure that the Week In Week Out programme gave for average attendanced. I have worked it our below, and your right it aint near 9k. Apologies for that.


4/9/11 RDP12 Scarlets 32 - 9 Aironi Rugby 6,493
24/9/11 RDP12 Scarlets 10 - 15 Leinster Rugby 8,823
7/10/11 RDP12 Scarlets 33 - 17 Edinburgh Rugby 6,188
15/10/11 LV Scarlets 31 - 3 Leicester Tigers 6,314
29/10/11 RDP12 Scarlets 24 - 17 Ulster Rugby 7,075
12/11/11 HC-P1 Scarlets 31 - 23 Castres Olympique 7,860
25/11/11 RDP12 Scarlets 22 - 12 Dragons 7,950
10/12/11 HC-P1 Scarlets 14 - 17 Munster Rugby 13,183
26/12/11 RDP12 Scarlets 22 - 14 Ospreys 14,756
7/1/12 RDP12 Scarlets 16 - 14 Glasgow Warriors 9,869
14/1/12 HC-P1 Scarlets 17 - 29 Northampton Saints 9,869
28/1/12 LV Scarlets 27 - 19 London Irish 8,117

Total Attendance = 96628
Average Attendance = 8052 (and a third apparently)
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