The events at the Millennium stadium on Saturday can be seen two ways. Despite what the WRU’s lapdogs would have you believe, this was not a day for encouragement. Not a day for reflecting as we look back, with our glorious Welsh team unlucky again.
This is a time for hard truths. For looking in the mirror. For facing facts. Let us stop listening to the misty-eyed nonsense we are being fed and face up to the hard truths.
Using the Millennium stadium as the sole source of revenue for Welsh rugby has failed. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on refurbishing hospitality boxes and laying new pitches. ‘If you build it they will come’ doesn’t work. The crowds are falling, and would be far lower if the WRU didn’t force the clubs to buy tickets, even if they have to sell them at a loss. What is the point in having the best rugby stadium in the world if you have no team to play on it and no crowd to fill it? Failure.
Starving the club game has failed. At club level, playing standards are falling. Squad strengths are falling. Crowds are falling. Clubs are facing extinction. It takes a peculiar sort of short-sightedness to ignore the fact that what happens to the clubs will inevitably happen to the National side. If there are no fans, and a falling standard of players in the club squads, that will be mirrored at National level. We are seeing that now. Failure.
Isolating the elite players and ignoring what happens at club level has failed. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on facilities, cryogenic chambers and the rest. If the players don’t return to a vibrant, competitive, intense league structure it doesn’t work. Einstein said that insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Failure.
Playing the same teams over and over again has failed. As a standalone policy, it doesn’t work. Wales’ record against the Southern Hemisphere since the 2007 world cup is played 27, won 1, lost 26. Failure.
The policies followed by the WRU since 2007 have failed. What we have is a shiny gold weathercock atop a collapsing, rusty pyramid. Unless we change direction urgently and start strethening the foundations,allowing our club game to flourish, we are certain to join Scottish rugby and Welsh football as an unimportant, bit-part player in world sport.
Where does the buck stop Roger?