Dai Young says enough is enough and reveals regional coaches told WRU what needs to change months ago

Dai Young has revealed how Wales’ regional head coaches gave their views on what was needed to make the four teams more competitive as long ago as last summer. But some eight months on, he still finds himself saying that things can’t go on as they are and there has to be change.

The Cardiff boss has been speaking in the wake of another dire week for Welsh rugby on the regional and international front, which has seen numerous people giving their opinions on the mounting crisis. You can read a detailed analysis of the current malaise here.

Asked for his thoughts on the situation, the former Wales and Lions prop disclosed that he and his colleagues had made their feelings known back before the start of the season. “All the directors of rugby, all the head coaches have been part of a workshop and we have already given what is appropriate for us to be competitive,” he said. “We have already gone through that piece of work through the right channels.

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“So the WRU know exactly what we feel we need to be more competitive. They have had our view. We have been consulted and we have given our thoughts. I don’t think we can give any more views than we have given. We did that before the season started. That was in the summer, really.

“It’s not a reaction to what’s happened at the weekend. The weekend has always been coming. I went on record a number of weeks ago as saying, unfortunately, things would have to go pretty poorly for Wales, with a couple of real bad results, for things to change. When I came in a year ago, there was lots of talk that things were going to change imminently for the best of Welsh rugby, but we are a year down the line. All it has been is talk at the minute and I still haven’t seen anything.”

You can read the latest fall-out from a disappointing Six Nations campaign here.

Asked what the priorities are moving forward, Young said: “Very few teams win anything without financial backing, do they? But it’s not just about money, it’s about structures, it’s about business plans and budgets, it’s about facilities, the whole infrastructure, where are we going as a Welsh Rugby Union, what are we looking to do, how do we improve?

“There have been plenty of opinions over the last couple of days. I have read the articles with you boys and a lot has been said there which makes sense. You’ve got to look at the schools, what we are doing in the academies, what’s happening with the Premiership and then we’ve got to look at the regions.

“The regions have got a responsibility as well. We could do better. Nobody is saying it’s all pointed in one direction. It’s a joint thing, we all need to pull together and do the right thing for Welsh rugby. Ultimately, everybody seems to be agreeing that things are not working the way they are and changes have to be made. Everybody would agree it can’t stay as it is. It has to change and some hard decisions have to be made.

“Unfortunately, there’s going to be self interest and some people are going to lose out. There are going to be people with noses put out. It could be any of us, really. We know that. But at some point for the betterment of Welsh rugby, changes have to be made. Somebody has got to be brave enough to make some hard decisions. It’s not going to be to everyone’s liking. But something has to change.

“If you look at the Irish model, I remember coaching against Leinster at Donnybrook when there was less than 1,000 people there. But the Irish Rugby Union decided to put more money into the pro game. They put it in Leinster first. Their standards rose and they dragged everybody else up with them. Money wasn’t just invested there, but in the academies, so there was a clear line and direction where they were going and it hasn’t done bad for them.

“That’s where we are. At the moment, I don’t think there’s any clear direction of how we are going to improve or what we are going to do. There have been lots of talks involving lots of people. Somebody needs to make a decision on what path they are going down. I think everybody realises things just cannot stay the same. Doing nothing is just not the right answer. There have got to be some brave decisions made. What they are is for other people to make, but something has to happen because it’s not going to go away in a hurry.”

Young revealed that he still doesn’t know his playing budget for next season even though we are now into late March. “You can’t make decisions,” he added. “That’s the difficulty of it. You are trying to improve a squad and an environment. I don’t think anyone would say it is the right way to operate.”

He concluded: “There are lots and lots of good capable people in Welsh rugby. It’s not all doom and gloom. We just need to make some hard decisions and we all need to pull together and do the right thing for Welsh rugby, putting self interest to one side.”


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