Jonathan Davies: Wales could revert temporarily to club system

Welsh Premiership clubs such as Llanelli and Pontypridd retain a strong fan base despite regional teams
Welsh Premiership clubs such as Llanelli and Pontypridd retain strong fan bases despite the existence of regional teams

Dual-code great Jonathan Davies thinks Wales should consider going back to a club system temporarily when rugby begins to emerge from coronavirus.

He says the travel demands of the Pro14 mean it could be one of the last competitions to return after lockdown.

Teams from Wales, Ireland, Italy, South Africa and Scotland play in the Pro14.

"Maybe it'll have to go back to a club system for the time being - not forever - because of the travel problems," Davies, 57, told BBC Sport Wales.

"You have to think outside the box now and what was normal is no longer normal.

"The Pro14, like Super Rugby in the southern hemisphere... with so many countries involved, that could be the last sport to get up and running. That would be a financial hit for everyone."

The former Wales and Great Britain star believes that international matches will be the first branch of rugby union to return, although this may be behind closed doors.

But when it does, Davies believes those players at the four Welsh regional sides - Ospreys, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues and Dragons - not getting Test call-ups might be better served playing for domestic club sides rather than waiting for the Pro14 to restart.

The regions already have spheres of influence and strong ties with some club sides in the semi-professional Welsh Premiership and below.

"You've got individual clubs in Wales that you could get the regional players to go back to, either wherever they came from or you could share them out," Davies, a BBC broadcaster and pundit, added.

"With the travel restrictions, if there's going to be a pecking order for a return to rugby then international rugby has got to be on top because that's the cash cow.

"With international players gone, you're not going to be putting a club prop up against a Test prop."

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