Dragons chief Gareth Davies questions WRU stance

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The so-called participation agreement sets out how the professional game is run

Newport Gwent Dragons chief executive Gareth Davies has questioned the Welsh Rugby Union's directors' stance in the row that threatens to split the game.

The WRU's 31 December deadline for the four regions to sign a new legal agreement

The WRU responded strongly, hinting it could set up new teams.

Ex-Wales fly-half Davies said: "Hand-on-heart, do they [WRU directors] actually agree with what's going on?"

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Rhys Williams, president of the Welsh Rugby Players' Association, urged for an agreement by the end of January

As the WRU's deadline for the regions to sign a new participation agreement expired on New Year's Eve, Regional Rugby Wales (RRW), which represents the Dragons, Blues, Ospreys and Scarlets, gave the WRU until the end of January 2014 to settle their differences.

In response, the WRU hinted it could set up new teams for "sanctioned" games, raising the possibility of players being forced to choose between new WRU teams or existing regions.

However, it is understood a new agreement involving the unions and the current regions could still be established.

After his playing career, former Cardiff and British and Irish Lions star Gareth Davies occupied a series of high-profile roles including BBC Wales head of sport and chief executive of Cardiff RFC. He moved to the Dragons in August 2013.

He now fears the game's future could once more head to the civil courts.

Alluding to the WRU winning a 2008 High Court fight over player release for Wales games, Davies said: "If this does go to court as has been suggested, a High Court judge stuck up in London is going to decide the future of Welsh rugby - the second time [in recent] years for the governing body.

"And I think that's a huge concern or should be a huge concern for the directors of the WRU that High Court judges are deciding on the future of the game."

Davies also accused the WRU of acting unreasonably during recent negotiations, but added the regions did not wish to split from the governing body.

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The Scrum V debate: The future of Wales' rugby regions

"What we want to do is to be in charge of our own destiny to a degree, but playing with the WRU, building for the future.

"The regions are the guys who created all these players for successful Welsh teams of the last 10 years.

"They aren't prepared at Welsh squad sessions. They are prepared in the clubs of Wales first of all, then they come to the regions, then they go on to the national team.

"So it's got to be Wales PLC, not the union against the regions."

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