The man presiding over a total shambles

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If I was involved in an aspect of my day job and handled it in as shambolic a way as Project Reset is being introduced to Welsh rugby I’d be sacked. Simple as.

Martyn Phillips is the current Chief Executive Officer of the Welsh Rugby Union, and as the man in charge of the most powerful entity within Welsh rugby, it his on his watch that this shambles is being played out.

He should be feeling under considerable pressure at the moment, and not just for one aspect of Reset, but for a myriad of reasons associated with it.

The fact it has taken so long is massively harmful to the regions, delaying any attempts to strengthen squads for next season and re-sign out of contract players, with Cardiff Blues already missing out on what could be key signings in areas we really need to add more quality to.

There is also the knock on effect that players are being left in limbo regarding their futures and, in news that should send shockwaves through the professional game, having to seek psychological help to deal with the problems that arise from that in terms of having mortgages to pay and families to feed.

Gareth Anscombe England
Gareth Anscombe is one of the out of contract players involved

Looking directly at the Ospreys, who have been the subject of the most intense speculation over the last two weeks, and while their squad and form was not good enough to compete with Connacht in Galway, you have to wonder just how much of their thrashing can be attributed to rumours of their demise.

This then leads onto talks of professional rugby being moved to North, and how those associated with the region are supposed to just get on with business as usual when there is a threat they could not even exist in 18 months.

How will a professional team in the North even work? Is the stadium up to scratch? Is there a large enough supporter base there? There is a suggestion now that the WRU have been organising Welsh Government funding up there for some time, does that link in with the idea of five entities, the current four regions and the Union, working together?

Of course that soundbite appears increasingly baseless, much like the WRU Annual Reports which regularly refer to transparency that are now no longer worth the paper they are written on, and with that we reach the key area in which Phillips is failing when it comes to Reset.

Project Reset WRU
The Ospreys appear to be currently at the most risk

Everyday that goes past without so much as a statement or interview is a day of further embarrassment for the WRU CEO.

The Welsh Rugby Players Association met with the WRU last week and appeared to not come out of the meeting any the wiser. There is now a second chance for the Union to get a clear message across, as the Joint Supporters Group meets with them on Monday.

It is highly likely that many of the rumours that have circulated on social media in recent weeks are either exaggerated or comfortably wide of the mark, but in the absence of any solid word from Phillips, and I am rejecting out of hand that pathetic statement in early January as an acceptable communication, then that is what happens.

WalesOnline noted in the week that the WRU were urging the regions to retain radio silence on the matter of Reset. Well, that is Martyn Phillips making his bed, and the pressure that has built since is him lying in it.

The last CEO left a dreadful legacy after trying to mess with the regions and talking too much, the incumbent seemingly is on the way to a poor legacy by trying to mess with the regions and not talking at all.

Just treat the key stakeholders with respect, it’s all we’re asking for.


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