Wales fly-half Anscombe warns of player exodus to Premiership

Gareth Anscombe helped Wales to the Six Nations title, scoring 20 points to secure the Grand Slam against Ireland. Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and regional chiefs must resolve their differences and end the chaos surrounding the domestic game or risk losing players to English clubs, Cardiff Blues flyhalf Gareth Anscombe has said.

Anscombe, whose 20-point haul helped Wales beat Ireland and win the Six Nations title on Saturday, said turmoil off the field had left a number of Welsh players feeling let down by the authorities.

The WRU and Welsh regions have held restructuring talks that could represent the most radical change to regional rugby in Wales since its inception in 2003, including a proposed merger between Scarlets and Ospreys.

"Players have been let down a fair bit certainly when you look at the results we have provided them. We all want to play for Wales -- there's no doubt about that -- but players need to be treated well and we deserve to be," Anscombe told reporters.

Anscombe, whose national dual contract expires at the end of the season, was responding to suggestions a number of Welsh players were considering leaving their regional sides to sign contracts with teams in the lucrative English Premiership.

"I think it's made all the boys think about that, to be honest. We've got only a 10-year window to really look after ourselves, and I guess the important thing is you don't want to look back with any regrets," the 27-year-old said.

Players based outside Wales with fewer than 60 caps are not eligible for national selection. Anscombe, who has attracted interest from English clubs Bath and Harlequins, would no longer be available for selection by Wales if he moves to England next season.

"There's a fair bit going on behind the scenes which needs to get sorted," he added. "I'd love to keep playing for Wales but we've got to work out a few things, for sure.

"I think we've given the union something to be pretty proud about and hopefully the union and the regions can come together and sort out the best deals for the players, because that is important."

In the wake of Anscombe's comments the Professional Rugby Board, which runs the Welsh professional game, confirmed there would be no change to the four regions involved in the Pro14 for the 2020/21 season, confirming the Ospreys and Scarlets will not join forces.

The plan was to bring the two sides together and set up a new franchise in North Wales, but that has been put on indefinite hold.

"Although the PRB has previously supported the principle for a proposed merger of two teams, it has since been noted that this merger has been deemed 'off the table' by both interested parties," a PRB statement said.

"It's hoped the emotion generated by the exploration of merger options can now be translated into support for the professional Welsh teams, helping create a sustainable future for the game in Wales.

It is vital that the momentum generated by Wales' 2019 Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam and recognition of the integral contribution to that success made by the four professional sides in Wales, acts as a springboard for all of Welsh rugby,"

"As all options are explored, the PRB will ramp up consultation with stakeholders, including, but not limited to players, staff, fans, clubs, government, broadcasters and partners."

The PRB also stated it would "not be deterred from the pursuit of a solution to ensure the long-term sustainability of the professional game in Wales".